Jet Airways was once the king of Indian skies. A few bad financial decisions forced the marquee airline to the ground after defaulting on loan repayment. Even after finding its new owner, it is still unclear if Jet Airways will ever fly again?
Jet Airways was grounded in April 2019 due to its default of loan repayments. The full-service airline was carrying a debt of 8,000 crores on its head. Jet Airways was sent to NCLT for the bankruptcy proceedings by the Committee of Creditors.
In October 2020, a consortium of UAE-based Indian businessmen Murari Lal Jalan and the UK’s Karlock Capital won the bidding process for the airline. The new owners announced, “Once the bankruptcy proceedings are complete, the airline will fly again by the end of 2021.”
Before being grounded, Jet Airways had 800 slots in various airports of India. Out of 800 slots, 450 were in Delhi and Mumbai, two of the busiest airports in India.
A slot is a 5-minute window an airline gets in an airport to complete takeoff or landing of one of its planes. With 50% of its slots in Delhi and Mumbai, Jet Airways had a stronghold in some of the busiest routes of India.
After the grounding of Jet Airways, the slots of the airline were distributed among the other Indian airlines. 75% of the slots were given to SpiceJet and Indigo. The government made it clear that the allocation of these slots was temporary. Once Jet Airways is ready to fly again, the slots were given back to the airlines.
Recently the new owners of Jet Airways got clearance to restart the operations of the airlines. But the government made it clear that Jet Airways will have to apply again for new slots.
The old slots cannot be returned without hurting the interest and operations of the other airlines.
Without slots in its hands, Jet Airways cannot fly. So, the airlines have to wait for the allocation of new slots that happens every year. The owners are in talks with various Indian authorities to get new slots, but the talks have not produced any results yet.