Jet Airways grounds more aircraft, suspends international flights

Jet Airways' Boeing 777-300ER 'VT-JEW' is currently grounded at Amsterdam Airport. Photo: © Alan Wilson

Jet Airways has grounded more aircraft in its fleet. This forces the Indian airline to suspend all international flights and significantly reduce domestic operations.

The struggling carrier now operates a total of only 14 aircraft, down from a fleet of 124 in December last year, The Economic Times of India reports. Jet Airways’ last remaining long-haul flights, to London, Paris and Amsterdam, were cancelled on Thursday evening. Cancellations have disrupted millions of travellers over the past few months. The airline owes more than US $500 million to passengers affected by cancelled flights, government estimates show.

On Wednesday, a Boeing 777-300ER by Jet Airways was repossessed at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. This was ordered by a Dutch court over the nonpayment of cargo ground handling fees.

Jet Airways has grounded most of its fleet, because it is unable to pay lessors and cannot afford required maintenance for some aircraft.

Earlier this week, the pilot union representing 1,100 Jet Airways pilots, issued a legal notice to the airline and threatened with strikes, as many employees, including pilots, have not been paid since December.

Jet Airways has more than US $1,2 billion in debt and made US $110 million in losses during the 2018 financial year. The State Bank of India (SBI), the leading party in a consortium of lenders, is now looking to sell between 31.2% and 75% of Jet Airways. According to Indian media, several domestic and international companies, including US-based TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, have showed interest in minority or majority investments into the airline. Reports say SBI has also reached out to international airline companies, including Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines.

Read more: Jet Airways receives legal notice over unpaid salaries