Companies

NCLT approves Kalrock-Jalan bid for Jet Airways

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on June 23, 2021

The approval paves way for the airlines to hit the skies once more   -  REUTERS

But declines to restore slots for the airline

The Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the resolution plan submitted by the Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan consortium but did not give any direction on the crucial issue of restoring the slots for the airline.

The two-judge Bench comprising Justices Janab Mohammed Ajmal and V Nallasenapathy said: “The resolution plan has been approved subject to certain directions. The allocation of slots will be considered by the appropriate authority as and when applied.”

“The historicity (on slots) cannot be given to Jet Airways, however, we have advised the government that the plan should not be frustrated because of the observation of the government,” NCLT added.

Premium slots

The consortium has been requesting to restore the erstwhile slots of Jet Airways. Landing slots are an important intangible asset for an airline, and it often costs a lot of money to grab a premium slot. Jet Airways had one of the most premium slots available at metro city airports in the country. The resolution professional, Ashish Chhawcharria said that the approval of the Kalrock-Jalan plan from NCLT is a “delight for the employees, passengers and for all of us” but the stand on slot was a disappointment for sure. “However, we are working with the authorities to get the slots back. The problem at a handful of airports will also be sorted soon,” he said.

Satisfying journey

The consortium said in a statement: “The journey until now has been extremely challenging yet satisfying. Our team will study the written order once issued by the National Company Law Tribunal and we will provide a detailed response on the next steps subsequently.”

“We are delighted that the NCLT order finally came through. This paves way for Jet Airways hitting the skies once more after April 2019, an almost unprecedented event in annals of global aviation history.

Rajesh Prasad, Chief Strategy Officer of Jet Airways, said it will be a hectic 90 days for Jet 2.0 to put in place management, finalise arrangements with overseas airports, ink up leasing, maintenance, IT contracts, etc. Gautam Acharya, a Vice-President of Jet Airways, who worked closely with the RP, said while the NCLT approval is a significant and positive development, one must be mindful that there is still a long way to go.

“It is certainly a leap in the right direction, with many small steps to follow. There will be several issues for the resolution applicant to address (from an operational stand point), which may take longer than usual to address owing to Covid-19 related disruptions.”

Ashish Gupta, senior counsel appearing on behalf of the DGCA and MoCA, explained that the way forward for Jet in terms of slots is that it has to submit a concrete business plan and apply for the slots, licences and permits.

“As per the current policy, whichever slots are available will be given. The government is positive about the revival of the airline.”

Published on June 22, 2021

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