13 June 2019: In an effort to iron out the thorny issues involving the sale of Jet Airways, its lenders and representatives of Etihad Airways and Hindujas met on Wednesday.
Sources said the meeting took stock of the situation wherein Etihad and Hindujas wanted some clarity on the required funding to revive the grounded carrier.
The meeting assumes significance as a Dutch court has already initiated bankruptcy proceedings against the airline, while here two operational creditors have filed insolvency petitions with the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai, and one of the pilots’ union is also planning to move the tribunal to recover their salaries and other dues.
“Etihad is an existing stakeholder in Jet Airways, so lenders and Etihad Airways are engaging to evaluate all possible options to reach a conclusion on Jet Airways — it does not mean they have come to a decision. The Hindujas have not yet formally committed their position either,” an official involved in the proceedings said.
The meeting also holds significance as there were speculations that the Hinduja Group, which last month said it was evaluating the Jet Airways’ opportunity, had finally exited the negotiations.
A spokesperson from the Hinduja group was not available for comment, but Etihad Airways termed these reports speculative.
In April, the State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders had invited bids for 75% stake in Jet Airways after the airline failed to meet debt obligations. Etihad Airways, Jet’s strategic partner, was the only serious party to show interest at the time. The Abu Dhabi-based airline was willing to hold minority stake in the airline, subject to multiple conditions, including that lenders taking a significant haircut on the airline’s debt. Several reports have said investors also want to be exempted from any ongoing investigations regarding the affairs of Jet Airways.
A Dutch court last month declared Jet as bankrupt following a plea submitted by two European operational creditors, H Essar Finance and Wallenborn Transport. No appeal has been filed on behalf of the airline as lenders are examining the implications of a foreign bankruptcy ruling on Jet Airways. At least one of Jet’s aircraft stationed at the Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam has been seized by foreign creditors.
In India, two operational creditors, Shaman Wheels and Gaggar Enterprises, have filed an insolvency plea against Jet Airways with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Mumbai. Their plea is yet to be admitted and will be heard on Thursday. A section of Jet’s pilots, represented by National Aviators Guild, is also planning to file a plea with NCLT this month, over salary dues of around 600 pilots, a person involved in the process told FE. The pilots plan to issue a notice to the defunct airline this week.