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

The fate of troubled airline Jet Airways remains uncertain as the stake-sale process draws a lackluster response. A lenders’ consortium that recently took over the airline from its founder and chairman Naresh Goyal has extended the deadline for submission of expressions of interest (EoIs) by two days to April 12.

The investment banker appointed to handle the deal, SBI Capital Markets, has stated that the deadline was extended as some potential bidders had sought more time.

Earlier this week the lenders, led by State Bank of India, had invited EoIs offering a minimum 31.2% stake in Jet Airways, setting April 10 as the deadline. However, minutes before the end of the deadline, it was extended.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which owns 24% of Jet Airways, is likely to submit an EoI.

Meanwhile, the airline is struggling to carry out day-to-day operations as it faces an acute cash crunch to pay for fuel, vendors and lessors. Thus grounding of flights and the suspension of fuel supplies have now become regular occurrences.

Jet Airways once had a fleet of 119 aircraft, but now it has dwindled to fewer than 30 as many lessors, upset over non-payment of leases, got their aircraft de-registered and leased them to other airlines.

On Wednesday, a Boeing 777 aircraft of the airline was seized in Amsterdam over non-payment of cargo dues.

The lenders’ consortium had earlier committed to 15 billion rupees (US$217.5 million), but so far only 2 billion rupees has been released.

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