It could will be another six months or more before Jet 2.0, a programme aimed at reviving the past glory of grounded Jet Airways, can take off. In December last year, the new investors of the airline had hoped for a relaunch in this year’s summer schedule.
But, the airline’s new investors, U.K.-based Kalrock Capital and U.A.E.-based entrepreneur, Murari Lal Jalan, are still awaiting clearances from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Issues pertaining to the allocation of airport slots to Jet Airways have surfaced, which seems to have derailed the approval process.
“The discussions are ongoing and we are very positive [of the outcome]. The government is very supportive; we don’t see any serious problems on the slot issue,” Jalan told Fortune India on Wednesday. “I don’t think the government will need to take back slots [that were given to other domestic airlines], so they can accommodate us. In this pandemic situation slots are available,” claimed Jalan.
Despite the strong headwinds in the aviation sector, Jalan is confident that Jet Airways will resume operations as a full-service airline, offering the same experience as it did earlier. “It’s all about pricing your ticket right and managing your costs well. And that is our target,” Jalan said. The present ground realities, though, aren’t as encouraging as Jalan’s confidence.
Research firm CRISIL estimates that Indian airlines could collectively report about ₹10,000 crore in losses in FY22, on account of lower domestic air traffic, rising fuel prices, and only a gradual recovery in international operations.
To being with, a resurgence of Covid-19 infections across the country, especially in Mumbai and Delhi, which account for 36% of the overall air traffic—is expected to stall the “recovery seen over the past six months”, read a CRISIL report. In fact, the average daily domestic passenger air traffic has fallen in April by almost 20% to about 2.35 lakh compared to February 2021. Moreover, airlines have seen a 30% rise in the price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) since November last year, a key cost head for them.
“It will take at least four to six months’ time to get all the approvals. And in the next six months, the situation will change for the [domestic] aviation sector,” said Jalan, who is pinning his hopes on the Indian government’s vaccination drive.
When asked if he knew the airline’s erstwhile founder Naresh Goyal, and whether there was any possibility of them exchanging notes on Jet 2.0, Jalan said, “No, I have never met him. Even after the [matter went to the] NCLT I’m not in touch [with him]. We will execute our own plans.”