No automatic renewal of slots for Jet Airways: Ministry

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on March 04, 2021

Kalrock-Jalan consortium will have to apply for slots and other permissions afresh

Jet Airways’ revival plan could hit a roadblock with the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) informing the Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal that there will not be automatic renewal of slots for the airline under the proposed new owners.

Important for operations

Airport slots are an important part of many airline’s operations. Put simply, they give an airline the right to take off and land at a specific airport at a designated time. At busy airports, these naturally have become very important and scarce. Jet Airways had some of the most premium slots at most metro cities, before its grounding.

Senior counsels Shyam Mehta and Ashish Mehta, who appeared before the NCLT on behalf of the MOCA and DGCA, said since the airline was non-operational its slots were allocated to other airlines.

This means that the Murari Lal Jalan and Kalrock Capital consortium will have to reapply for Jet’s erstwhile airport slots. Renewal of Jet Airlines’ earlier slots was one of the key conditions put forward by the consortium while submitting the bid. The consortium’s request for waivers and concessions too has been denied. The lawyers, representing MOCA and DGCA, apprised the NCLT that the regulatory authorities were not opposing the Resolution Plan and the Government was hoping and wanting the airline to get revived.

“We apprised the Bench that the per se we are not opposing the Resolution Plan. However, the reliefs as far as deemed or automatic approvals to various licences / permissions under the Aircraft Act 1932 and Aircraft Rules 1937 are concerned they cannot be automatic revival / renewal of the same and the new entity will have to submit their business plan for these permissions, which will be considered afresh and on its own merits,” the lawyers said.

Jet Airways owned several premium landing slots. Post its temporary suspension, the slots were reallocated to other airlines including SpiceJet, IndiGo, and Vistara. One of the key demands for the consortium was to get the slots back.

Revival plan

The Mumbai Bench of NCLT is hearing the revival plan of Jet Airways which shut shop in April 2019.

Given the MOCA’s stance, people involved with the revival of Jet Airways said that there is uncertainty on whether the consortium will move ahead with the debt resolution plan.

Kalrock-Jalan combine did not respond to a query sent by BusinessLine.

Published on March 03, 2021

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