The fleet is not final, Jet Airways encounters take-off problems

NEW DELHI : Jet Airways’ planned relaunch is set to face further delays as the airline continues to face serious operational challenges that remain unresolved, casting doubt on its ability to meet its original deadline to restart flight operations by September .

Jet Airways emerged from bankruptcy proceedings with a change in ownership and planned to launch services in the September quarter after receiving the air operator certificate from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on May 20 . However, clarification is still awaited from the airline on the aircraft pipeline, and an announcement is expected on this in a few months.

“We see that the airline is serious and desperate to start their flights. But they have to decide on the plane, approach the dispatcher, go through the process of slots and other steps that are part of the procedure before the start of flights. All of this will take at least a few weeks after the airline announces its plane order. A flight launch this month is unlikely,” a senior official said.

The airline currently has one operational aircraft, a Boeing 737NG, according to flight tracking website flightradar24.com. The airline launched the pilot hiring process for the Airbus A320, Boeing B737NG and Boeing 737MAX in July. So far, the airline has inducted 200 employees.

Jet Airways closed in April 2019 due to a severe financial crisis. The airline then went through resolution proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code for two years. Finally, a Mumbai bankruptcy court approved the resolution plan submitted by the Jalan Kalrock Consortium in June 2021.

“We are working to open for sale by the end of the current month and begin operations shortly thereafter. Starting, or in this case, restarting an airline, is a complex process, and we will take the time to get it right. However, we are pleased that we are so far close to our target date,” said a spokesperson for the Jalan-Kalrock consortium.

The airline is set to lease some planes for initial operations, but has been in talks with Airbus and Boeing for an order for new planes, people familiar with the development said. The airline is considering the Airbus A320, A220 and Boeing B737 MAX as options for the new plane order, they added. While Jet Airways, prior to its grounding, was a full-service carrier, the new Jet Airways is likely to offer a combination of low-cost and premium services.

The airline used a Boeing 737 in May for its Air Operator’s Certificate test flights, but if the airline chooses to go with Airbus or a mix of Airbus and Boeing, it won’t need to obtain another Air Operator’s Certificate but will obtain regulatory approval for the same, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

“We are in the very final stages of contracting with lessors and OEMs for the aircraft and engines. We will announce our choice of aircraft and our fleet plans when the process is complete, which should be very soon. As we have always maintained, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we are focused on securing the best possible aircraft and engine contracts to secure our future.” said consortium spokesman Jalan-Kalrock.

On Monday, shares of Jet Airways fell 0.85% to 99.20 on BSE.

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