The consortium of asset management firm Kalrock Capital and entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan, which is currently awaiting bankruptcy court approval to restart Jet Airways (India) Ltd, will continue to keep the grounded airline public. The consortium hopes to restart operations within four to six months of getting an approval from the tribunal, which is set to hear the resolution plan on Monday. The new promoters will also retain the ‘Jet Airways’ brand and rehire some of the employees who had worked for the grounded airline. Jet Airways will resume operations with about 25 aircraft, with a base in New Delhi and restart international flights by the end of the year, Murari Lal Jalan said in an interview. Edited excerpts:
There has been quite a bit of delay from the court in giving its approval. How is this expected to impact your plans?
The sooner the approval comes through, the better it is. Anyway, we couldn’t have started operations by the beginning of the summer schedule even if NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) cleared the plan two months ago. But we are very much on track to restart operations within the summer schedule. It could be in the middle or the end of summer schedule. We hope to start operations within four to six months of getting the court’s approval.
How are you going to secure your finances?
I am in one of the best situations. We got the airline at a very competitive price due to the covid situation. Our cost is going to be much less than any other airline in the future. This is because we are going to start the airline without any liabilities. By the time we are airborne, the market will come back 100%.
How are you managing your capital requirements?
We have submitted our plans to the committee of creditors (CoC), which have been accepted. We are very much on time to make payments as per regulations, as per our commitment. We are prepared with the capital requirement plan for the next couple of years. Everything has been arranged. I would not like to comment on the figure now as the resolution plan is yet to be cleared by the NCLT.
Do you see former employees join the airline?
Jet’s former staff are assets and we will definitely want to look after them. We will do whatever is possible and whatever is practical. They are human capital, and experienced professionals, who we are looking forward to working with.
Jet’s airport slots, especially at New Delhi and Mumbai, have been distributed to other airlines. How do you plan to get them back?
We are very optimistic. We have been assured by the ministry (of civil aviation) that whatever slot is required will be made available. Also, a lot more slots are available now than what a year ago. I don’t foresee any problem with slots.
What kind of fleet are you looking to operate?
We are in talks with leasing companies and aircraft manufacturers from the day we put in a bid. We will sign the agreements as soon as NCLT gives its approval. It can be either Boeing or Airbus. We could also be getting new aircraft.
What made you enter the aviation sector?
I have always been fascinated with aviation. And, fortunately, I got the opportunity to bid for Jet Airways. We also got a very good valuation for the airline due to the covid. I am happy and fortunate to be in this position.
How about branding and positioning of the airline?
We will definitely continue the way it was. Jet will remain a full-service offering…The name of the airline will also remain unchanged.
Will you onboard any other investor?
As of now, the plan is to keep Jet within the consortium, but then, things can change depending on the situation.