The latest story in the never-ending Jet Airways revival saga is that Punjab National Bank (PNB) has accused gross irregularity in the insolvency process of the beleaguered airline . About a couple of weeks back, the employees of the airline had flagged concerns about their pending salaries and retirement benefits and had approached National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
NCLAT has agreed to hear the plea of PNB and issued notice to the successful resolution applicant, Jet Airways' Administrator and the lenders. The hearing is scheduled for September 21.
PNB has accused gross irregularity in the insolvency process of Jet Airways and sought a stay on the approved resolution plan of Kalrock-Jalan consortium. The bank has targeted the resolution professional and claimed that he has reduced its debt by the value of the share pledges invoked. He has opposed any reduction in the amount of total pending debt, the bank accused. According to sources, the bank had earlier raised their concerns before the committee of creditors (CoC). Jet Airways had 26 lenders, including the State Bank of India.
On August 19, the Jet Airways employees moved the appellate tribunal and sought quashing of NCLT’s approval for Kalrock-Jalan resolution plan. They raised concerns over unpaid salary dues and pension benefits. NCLAT gave two weeks to the counsel of Kalrock-Jalan consortium to respond to claims by Jet Airways employee associations.
Not only legal hassles. The resumption of operations hinges on negotiations between the consortium and the government on multiple fronts. The Jalan-Kalrock consortium, which received the approval for their resolution plan from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in June, is awaiting for clearances from multiple authorities to restart the operations of the iconic airline.
DGCA has not yet re-certified the air operator permit of the carrier though NCLT’s processes are over. Since the airports had allocated the earlier slots of Jet Airways to other operators, the airline is still in discussions with the authorities, said the sources in the know. The airline wants to have a pan-India route network, initially with less frequency. The new management targets to start the operations by early next year.
Jet Airways, which has been grounded in 2019 due to bankruptcy under its founder Naresh Goyal, had received admitted claims of over ₹15,000 crore. The selected consortium proposed to pay around ₹1,200 crore to the creditors over the next five years and revive it as a full service airline with 25 aircraft fleet. The banks will get 9.5% stake in the airline while public shareholding will reduce to 0.21%, according to the resolution plan. The consortium would hold 89.79% in the airline. Employees will also get 0.5%.
The Kalrock-Jalan consortium was selected by CoC in last October with over 99% vote. Jalan is a Dubai-based NRI businessman and Kalrock Capital is a financial advisory and asset management company. The consortium has started the hiring and is now searching for a CEO.