Jet will connect regional cities to international destinations: Murari Lal Jalan

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on February 22, 2021

Murari Lal Jalan

Having grown his business from a small city like Ranchi to Uzbekistan and the UAE, Murari Lal Jalan is now embarking on a similar growth trajectory for his biggest bet yet -- Jet Airways.

Jalan is planning to connect small cities to international destinations .

“We plan to start international routes within the first year itself. Our vision is to connect regional cities to 5-6 international destinations. It could include Dubai, Thailand, and Singapore. We see potential in small places like Patna, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow etc for short-haul outbound air travel, and we wish to tap that,” Jalan told BusinessLine. Jalan along with Kalrock Capital had emerged as the winning bidder for acquiring the Jet Airways under a debt resolution process. The bid has been approved by Jet’s bankers and is awaiting final approvals from NCLT and the Government.

“Our plan is to restart the airline within four months of the NCLT approving our plan. Our team is looking at starting the airline with 25 aircraft in the first year. It will be a mix of wide- and narrow-body aircraft. We want to keep the legacy and glory of Jet Airways, and thus, it will be a full-service carrier,” Jalan said adding that the airline’s hub will be Delhi /NCR instead of Mumbai earlier.

‘Delay, a silver lining’

Kalrock-Jalan had initially said that they planned to restart the airline’s operation by April 2021. However, the proceedings at NCLT has been delayed. When asked if these delays were a matter of concern, Jalan said, “The judiciary has the right to take their time. It is in fact better for us because by the time the approval comes through, the Covid-19-infused restrictions would have possibly eased. We will then fly in open skies.”

One of the issues that is yet to get clarified is Jet Airways’ slots. BusinessLine had reported that the insolvency court had sent the notice to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) seeking clarity over Jet Airways’ slots.

Jalan who is currently in India said that he has met the Central authorities in this regard. “They have assured me that Jet Airways’ slots will be returned to us, and they are positive about it,” he said.

At its peak, Jet Airways had close to 20,000 contract and permanent employees. The employee unions have now filed multiple petitions requesting details of the resolution plan in order to make sure that their interests have been considered.

Published on February 21, 2021

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