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DGCA questions Jet Airways on its ability to maintain schedule.

Date: 31-01-2019
Subject: DGCA questions Jet Airways on its ability to maintain schedule
India’s second largest airline Jet Airways confirmed Wednesday that it grounded four aircraft due to its lessors repossessing the equipment, a development that disrupted its schedule on Tuesday as it cancelled 19 flights due to the groundings. Further, The Indian Express has learnt from a senior official that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is monitoring the schedule of Jet Airways and has asked the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline if it will be able to maintain its schedule’s integrity.

In response to a query by the stock exchanges, Jet Airways said it has grounded one aircraft for scheduled termination of its engine’s lease and is also in the process of redelivering three aircraft to lessors due to the scheduled expiry of their respective lease terms. An e-mail query sent to Jet Airways on the DGCA’s intervention did not elicit a response at time of going to press.

The DGCA publishes airline schedules — Winter Schedule from October-end to March-end and Summer Schedule from March-end to October-end — and constantly monitors the airlines’ schedules if they are able to meet it. Last month, The Indian Express had reported that taking a note of the effect of financial woes on Jet’s operations, DGCA had approved the airline’s winter schedule in two parts. “Out of the six-month long winter schedule, we only cleared a month’s schedule for Jet Airways. Later, only after assurance from the airline on availability of sufficient capacity and manpower, on November 15 we approved the schedule for the remaining five months,” the official had said.

In its filing to the exchanges on Wednesday, Jet Airways noted: “The company is making all efforts to minimise disruption to its network due to the above and is proactively informing and re-accommodating its affected guests. The company is also providing required updates to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.”

“The company is actively engaged with all its aircraft lessors, including GECAS, and regularly provides updates on efforts undertaken by it to improve its liquidity. Aircraft lessors have been supportive of the company’s efforts in this direction,” the airline added.

On account of the lease expiries, as per sources, one aircraft each has been grounded at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. An airline source also said that the disruption on Wednesday was not as much as Tuesday since flight cancellations because of weather-related issues at some airports resulted in freed up capacity for the airline that it could redeploy. Jet on Monday said that it has sought shareholder approval to issue new equity and convert existing debt into equity among other things at a special general body meeting, indicating that banks are likely to convert part of the debt into equity. The company will also seek approval to allow its lenders to nominate directors to its board, the airline had said in a stock exchange filing. The company proposed that its share capital is increased to Rs 2,200 crore.

This could be to facilitate conversion of debt into equity by lenders as part of the restructuring plan. The company has sought “the consent of the shareholders … to convert the whole or part of the outstanding under loans, extended/ to be extended by the lenders into shares or convertible instruments or other securities of the company as per the terms contained in the respective loan”, it had said. The EGM will be held on February 21.

Source: indianexpress.com

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