Dhaka: Jet Airways had been forced to ground 15 additional planes in its fleet over non-payment of dues, said the airline in a stock exchange filing on April 2.
The airline’s day-to-day operations are taking a significant hit while the struggling Indian carrier scours the globe in search of lifeline investment.
“As mentioned earlier, the Company is actively engaged with all its aircraft lessors and regularly provides them with updates on the efforts undertaken by the Company to improve its liquidity,” Jet said in its filing.
Jet’s shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange fell 5pc by April 2.
Due to the move, the total size of Jet’s fleet has come down to a mere 29 aircraft, which will deplete its market share even further. Out of these, only half are said to be operational, sources said, making it the smallest pan-Indian airline. Yet, it had started the year with a fleet of 119 planes.
In addition to plane rental dues, the airline has also been unable to pay its pilots and engineers since January. As a result, around 200 out of 1,400 pilots have resigned in the last few months.
Jet recently decided to give leave to the pilots of its Boeing 737 planes without pay for the next six months. The decision affects nearly 1,000 pilots.
The devolution to India’s smallest airline marks a dramatic fall from grace for Jet since it is the oldest private carrier in India. It started operations in 1993 and grew to be India’s largest international carrier over the 2000s – biting into Air India’s monopoly – before balking in the face of competition from low carriers as well as rising oil prices and a depreciating rupee.