In a big blow to Jet Airways’ revival hopes, mining and metal baron Anil Agarwal’s family trust Volcan Investments (VI) has withdrawn its expression of interest (EoI) for the grounded airline. VI was among three international entities who had submitted their EoIs for Jet till deadline of last Saturday and now two little-known players - Avantulo Group and RA Creator - are left in the fray.
Volcan withdrew hours after Jet’s 24% stakeholder Etihad said it did not submit an EoI due to “unresolved issues concerning Jet’s liabilities” and it is “neither feasible for nor responsible of Etihad to reinvest in Jet at this time.” Anil Agarwal said in a statement: “The EoI for Jet Airways by Volcan was exploratory in nature. On further evaluation and considering other priorities, we intend to not to pursue this further. Jet Airways was the pioneer to open skies in India after Air India.. a world class airline with finest team and connected numerous global and domestic destinations. India is amongst the largest and fastest growing aviation markets in the world and I am sure many airlines and investors will look at this opportunity.”
The resolution professional (RP) handling Jet case after SBI took the airline to insolvency court has so far received claims for payment of about £ 2.4 billion from Jet by different stakeholders. It has accepted claims from 33 banks for £846.2 million and is examining the remaining payables sought by employees and other creditors.
Bidders to submit plan by Sept 12
The insolvency proceedings started on June 20 when lender State Bank of India took Jet to the NCLT after failing to find any suitor to take over the airline. The bankruptcy court had ordered a speedy resolution - within 90 days - considering the “national importance” of the matter. India had three full service carriers (FSCs) - Air India, Jet and Vistara - till April 17, and now there are only two. Air India itself faces an uncertain future with the government planning to start its divestment process.
“India may no longer be the world’s fastest growing aviation market, but it’s a steadily growing one. A market of this size needs two FSCs that can fly passengers between India and other parts of the world like the Americas, Australia, Europe and Africa - non-stop. We really hope at least one of them, AI or Jet, gets a solid buyer. Otherwise we will continue to be a rich catchment area for medium- to long-haul flights,” said a senior airline official, who did not wish to be named.