A Jet Airways plane readies for takeoff. Photo: iStock
Jet Airways operated its last flight on April 17 last year and became insolvent in June after being in service for 25 years. Photo: iStock

With Jet Airways struggling to stay afloat, 51% stakeholder Naresh Goyal has agreed to step down and give up control of the airline. His announcement boosted the airline’s share price, which was trading at 313.20 rupees at 12 noon on Wednesday, up from the previous close of 293.60 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.

Goyal has reportedly expressed his willingness to give up a controlling stake and the operational control of the airline, CNBC TV 18 reported. The change of stance came after prospective investors expressed reservations about Goyal retaining a controlling stake in the airline, the TV channel added.

Goyal founded the airline in 1992 and it is now the second largest in India. Under the new terms, Goyal has, however, sought to retain a minority stake of below 5% and a seat on the board.

The airline is reportedly in talks with Tata Group, its minority stakeholder Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi and a consortium of Air France, KLM and Delta. The possibility of a deal is more likely among the former two.

Tata Group wants to buy a controlling stake and is open to Goyal retaining a minority stake with Etihad staying on as a minority investor.

If Jet Airways strikes a deal with Etihad, the Gulf airline will have to raise its stake from 24% to 49%. According to Indian law, a foreign airline can invest only up to 49% in a domestic airline.

Jet Airways has about US$ 1.1 billion in debt and needs $300 million in an immediate cash infusion.