Amid flight of executives, SBI may seek court-appointed receiver to run Jet Airways

K Ram Kumar/Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on May 17, 2019 Published on May 16, 2019

With the top management of Jet Airways resigning en masse, State Bank of India, the lead lender to the airline, may seek put in place a court-appointed receiver to manage the affairs of the debt-ridden company.

“As bankers do not have the capability to run the airline, there has been a request to appoint a receiver. For this, the lenders will have to approach the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) or the High Court. SBI may come up with a list of two or three aviation experts to be appointed as a receiver, who will look after the interests of the airline,” said a banking industry source.

Earlier this week, Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube, CFO Amit Agarwal, Company Secretary and Compliance Officer Kuldeep Sharma and Chief People Officer Rajhul Taneja quit the company, citing personal reasons. Whole-time director Gaurang Shetty has also resigned.

The airline temporarily shut operations on April 18. It is estimated that ₹8,000 crore will be needed to resurrect the airline, whose total debt stands at over ₹14,000 crore.

Day-to-day operations

Another banking source said the lenders have to ensure day-to-day issues — including engaging with employee unions — are being taken care of.

“The new manager will have to be given legal backing to function effectively; hence, court approval would be needed. Even if the airline is not operational, the company needs to be preserved during the hibernation period,” said the source.

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So far, more than half of the airline’s fleet has been de-registered and the slots have been temporarily given to other airlines. Jet’s earlier employee base was 22,000, but many have subsequently resigned. The airline had also terminated 50 employees across its international destinations.

A case is being heard by the Labour Commission on non-payment of salary dues, which could get stalled without any management representation during the hearings.

Meanwhile, SBI has approached the unsolicited bidders — London-based AdiGro Aviation, UK-based entrepreneur Jason Unsworth and Mumbai-based Darwin Platform Group — to explore the possibility of finding an investor for Jet Airways.

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Published on May 16, 2019
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