A Jet Airways (India) Ltd. aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Lessors Ground A Fifth Of Jet Airways’ Fleet In A Month

Jet Airways (India) Ltd.’s fleet size has declined by a fifth in the past month due to non-payment of flight rentals to lessors.

As many as 25 aircraft of the indebted full-service carrier—whose rejigged board is embarking on a revival plan that will allot shares to lenders—were grounded in February due to a severe liquidity crunch that has led to defaults.

The Naresh Goyal-founded airline said in a company filing that it’s engaged with all its lessors and regularly provides them with updates on efforts taken to improve its liquidity. It was making all efforts to minimise disruption to its network and was pro-actively informing and re-accommodating its affected guests, according to the filing. The airline also continues to provide the required and periodic updates to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in this regard, it said.

The airline had 124 planes in its fleet of which it owns 16—comprising Boeing and Airbus aircraft and ATRs—according to company filings. The company had a gross debt of over Rs 7,600 crore as of Dec. 31, 2018 of which aircraft debt was Rs 1,585 crore.

Grounding of these aircraft will help free up market share and lead to an increase in airfares, benefiting other operators.

Jet Airways has been struggling to hold ground in India with the entry of low-cost operators such as IndiGo, run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., and SpiceJet Ltd. The market share of Jet Airways has nearly halved in the last four years to about 13 percent.