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Innocent Admission

It’s now Jet versus Jet as endgame nears

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New Delhi, June 8, 2019-

Even as the lenders and the employees hope against hope and expect a white knight to rescue the grounded Jet Airways, the airline’s promoter Naresh Goyal, now deboarded from the pilot seat, knew weeks back that it was time to abandon the sinking ship.

Goyal’s travel firm Jet Air in mid-May wrote to Jet Airways to vacate its premise in Gurugram while the lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI) were struggling to find investors for the airline.

Jet Air Pvt Ltd, a company controlled by Goyal, wanted the now defunct carrier to vacate its office premises at Yusuf Sarai in Delhi and another one in Gurugram citing expiry of pact and non-payment of license fee.

Not long ago, Goyal was the Chairman of Jet Airways and used to call all the shots. He is still the largest shareholder of the company, at least on paper.

“Please note in respect of YS (Yusuf Sarai) floors neither we have received any renewal arrangement from 9W (Jet Airways) post March 2019 nor got any maintenance expense on account of electricity which is a going expense month on month without which we cannot continue and hence the vacation,” a Jet Air executive wrote to the Jet Airways staff.

“With regard to GGN (Gurgaon) premise, we are not getting license fee without which we are constrained to ask for vacation of the above said premise,” the Jet Air executive Vimal K. Tripathi wrote.

On getting the notice, Jet Airways officials requested Jet Air to put the plan on hold till revival of the airline. The airline also requested to defer the decision and give an applicable notice period.

The airline officials contended that many departments were still using the offices for minimum required functions and it would not be possible for them to vacate the premises.

“You are very well aware of the current financial crises of Jet Airways and in this situation it would not be possible for us to manage critical functions without these offices. As far as renewal of agreement is concerned, we will ask our Mumbai team to initiate the process for extension of agreement for the mentioned office spaces,” a Delhi-based Jet Airways executive wrote to Jet Air.

He further promised that the pending outstandings will be cleared once revival of operations takes place.

Run out of cash, Jet Airways suspended its operations in April and is now staring at closure in the absence of fund infusion by the prospective buyers.

The airline’s lenders led by SBI are trying to rope in a buyer for Jet Airways. In response to the lenders’ call for stake sale in the airline, only Etihad Airways had earlier submitted a bid.

The other three investors — private equity firm TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), which had qualified in the expression of interest (EoI) — did not submit any financial proposal. There were two unsolicited bids from foreign investors.

Hinduja group last month said that it was evaluating the Jet Airways opportunity.  (Agency)

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