Jet Airways is most likely to get a lifeline if United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Etihad and Jet manage to reach an agreement, and Etihad decides to increase its stake in the carrier, in which it already holds 24 per cent while Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal holds 51 per cent. However, Etihad is insisting on a cheaper deal this time from Jet promoters while a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) is working on debt restructuring plans.
Sources say Jet Airways’ huge debt has led to delayed salaries to its staff, including pilots and engineers. The full-service carrier, which has been grappling with financial woes for some time, faced a crisis as fuel prices shot up last year. The airline also defaulted on payments to lessors, compounding the problem. Since then, there has been some relief in oil prices and Jet Airways has been using this time to address its cash flow problems.
Jet Airways is looking at a two-pronged approach at resolving the crisis including debt restructuring and fresh infusion of funds to meet its immediate financial needs.
Sources say Etihad will agree raise its stake in Jet Airways only if Jet Airways’ lenders agree on debt restructuring, after reports that a forensic audit did not throw up any adverse findings on its accounts. Etihad has also sought top positions for its officials on Jet Airways’ board if it agrees to raise its stake and infuse fresh funds.
16/01/19 Saurabh Gupta/NDTV