However, the rider in order is that the DGCA will decide which airport slots Jet Airways will get, within 90 days, based on existing guidelines.
More than two years after the suspension of operations, the Jet Airways resolution plan by the Jalan-Kalrock consortium was approved by the National Company Law Tribunal on Tuesday, but with endorsements. Jet Airways had suspended operations on April 17, 2019 and in June 2019 the airline was admitted to the NCLT for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Jet’s lenders approved the consortium’s resolution in October 2020.
The amendment in the order concerns the allocation of slots at airports where the NCLT has stated that the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) will have to make the decision within 90 days and that it will be based on the existing directives, and that Jet cannot claim historicity. The court can be seized if the time limit must be extended beyond 90 days. No instructions were given by the court to the Union government or to the DGAC. The Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA had previously told the judiciary that the historicity criteria could not be based on the claim that the airline had been in business for 25 years.
According to a Business Standard report, the consortium has received assurances from 30 airports that 170 slots could be released if operations are restarted. The ministry and DGCA have said Jet Airways is not eligible for slot allocation based on historical precedent and that allocation will be based on slot allocation guidelines, he said. In March, the ministry and DGCA told NCLT that slots allocated to Jet Airways were not the airline’s assets.
After the closure of Jet Airways, its slots were offered to other airlines so that they could increase their capacity at the earliest and were kept temporarily. “Many airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air etc. responded positively and invested huge sums of money and bought a number of planes immediately and even outnumbered the figure which was reduced due to of the suspension of operations by Jet Airways … the entities cannot be deprived of these slots, without any valid reason and also without any force of law, ”stated the government’s affidavit.
The Jet Airways Cabin Crew Association and Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association employee unions have welcomed the verdict. Amit Kelkar, on behalf of JAMEWA and Jacca, called this a historic moment for Indian civil aviation.
“It proves that the Jet Airways brand has always been valuable. It is the first airline to be resolved under IBC. Probably the first airline in the world to restart after such a long period of suspension of operations. We express our gratitude to Hon NCLT bench. Congratulations to RP Ashish Chhawchharia and his team. A moment of joy for all the staff to remain confident in their beloved airline despite all the difficulties, ”he said.
Jet Airways had started as an air taxi operator on May 5, 1993, with a fleet of four leased Boeing 737-300s. The airline, which was listed on the national stock exchanges in February 2005, operated its first international flight from Chennai to Colombo in March 2004.
With contributions from agencies