By Taylor Rains
Jet Airways to Be Flying Again by Summer 2021
On Monday, the Times of India reported that the recently-defunct Jet Airways will be relaunching all of its domestic routes by Summer 2021. The carrier ceased operations due to insolvency in April 2019 but was granted a lifeline when a consortium of businessman including Murari Lal Jalan and London’s Kalrock Capital won the bid for its revival. The airline’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) approved the consortium’s resolution plan in October; however, Jet Airways still has to get the green light from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and regulatory bodies before it can restart flights.
In a statement made to the Economic Times, the new owners said, “As per the resolution plan, Jet Airways intends to operate all of its historic domestic slots in India and restart international operations. If everything goes as per plan and the Consortium receives the NCLT and regulatory approvals on time, Jet Airways would be back in the skies by the Summer of 2021.”
The carrier’s new owners will present their plan to the NCLT on Dec. 11.
In its announcement, the Jalan-Kalrock consortium explained the carrier would relaunch as a full-service airline. Furthermore, it would be reclaiming its hubs in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and creating sub-hubs in Tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Tier 2 cities such as Bhuj, Rajkot and Aurangabad were hurt by the closure of Jet Airways in 2019, with the cities taking a major hit in air traffic. According to The Hindu, the cities lost 85%, 55%, and 42% in passenger load respectively, so the revival of jet Airways will be a major win for these communities.
Jet Airways’ new owners told the Times of India, “This would help boost the economy in these cities, help Jet Airways stand back on its feet fast, and support the overall vision of the Indian government to promote aviation business through tier 2/3 cities.”
While the owners plan to focus heavily on domestic routes, the airline also plans to restart some international routes. Unfortunately, the airline did lose many of its key European slots, such as in London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schipol, but it managed to hold on to critical slots in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. These slots are imperative for a successful relaunch, and it should be easy for the consortium to take them up.
As far as the aircraft used on these routes, Jet Airways still has six Boeing 777-300s, three Boeing 737-800s and two Airbus A330-200 for use. There is little information on if the new owners plan to acquire more jets, but they have said that they plan to start with a smaller fleet.
However, before Jet Airways’ demise in 2019, the carrier placed an order for over 200 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets but canceled it after its bankruptcy. While it seems the $26 billion order would be off the books for good, Boeing says otherwise. According to the manufacturer, the contractual agreements between it and Jet Airways still stand.
In a statement to Live from A Lounge, Boeing said, “The Jet Airways orders are not cancelled. Our contractual agreements with Jet Airways remain in place. The update to Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website reflects the alignment with the accounting standards for recognizing revenues.” This means that hypothetically the carrier’s new owners could reinstate the order, but considering they want to start with a smaller fleet, it is unlikely they will do so.
Although the consortium initially intended to create a brand new airline, they ultimately bid for Jet Airways due to its brand and passenger loyalty. The carrier is India’s oldest private airline and is already a common household name in the country, making it easier to market to the public.
“Jet Airways has been a brand with a glorious history of over 25 years, and it is the vision of the consortium to put Jet Airways back in the skies at the earliest opportunity. We aim to re-energize the brand by infusing energy, warmth, and vibrancy into it while making it bigger and better,” said Manoj Narender Madnani, a consortium board member. “Over the years, the brand has created loyal customers and we wish to bring in freshness by adding value – an Indian brand with a global outlook, warm yet professional which symbolises the New India, Young India. With the revival of Jet Airways, it will restore the confidence among the Jet customers to fly again and experience its world class facilities.”
“The consortium’s biggest strength is human capital, and it is putting together the best of aviation professionals with Global experience for running and managing the operations of Jet 2.0,” he continued.