DALLAS — On Monday, the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium, the winning bidder for bankrupt Jet Airways (9W), obtained the renewal of the airline’s air operator certificate (AOC) from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
This paves the way for the grounded passenger airline to revive its services in India. Furthermore, India’s Supreme Court has instructed the airline to reinstate 169 of its temporary workers with full wages, according to The Economic Times.
In a statement published in the Hindustan Times, the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium commented, “The Jalan and Kalrock Consortium remains fully dedicated to the revival of Jet Airways and is committed to implementing a comprehensive strategy to ensure the airline’s success. JKC will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities, industry partners, and stakeholders in reviving Jet Airways in the coming weeks.”
About Jet Airways
Jet Airways launched operations in 1993 and became known for premium air travel for discerning travelers in India. The airline was known for its high-quality service and pioneered new services to the Indian aviation market, including business-class lounges and in-flight entertainment.
Before suspending operations in April 2019, the airline flew to over 65 destinations throughout Southeast Asia, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with 124 narrow and wide-body aircraft.
Jet Airways was then revived under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code under the National Company Law Tribunal, which settles company disputes and the structures and laws of the companies. In a first in Indian aviation history, an airline is being revived under the same name after being grounded for an extended period.
Following the insolvency resolution process, Jalan-Kalrock Consortium emerged as the winning bidder for the grounded airline. With that said, the ownership transfer to the consortium has yet to occur due to persisting differences between the airline’s lenders and the consortium.
On May 20, 2022, the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was re-issued to 9W. However, because the airline did not start operations, the AOC expired on May 19, 2023. So the renewal of the AOC revalidates the confidence of the Indian aviation regulator in the revival of 9W.
Following the AOC, 9W plans to reinforce its commitment to revive ‘India’s most admired airline,’ the company said in a press statement. However, the renewal of the flying permit only lasts until September, and the airline’s fate is still uncertain. Jet Airways has stated that it plans to operate as a full-service carrier in a two-class cabin configuration, including a business class cabin that meets global standards and a new-generation economy class.
Jet Airways’ fleet consists of old and primarily defunct aircraft. Moreover, the consortium has not leased or purchased a single aircraft in addition to not paying any of the airline’s dues. The clearance comes when Jalan-Kalrock Consortium’s deadlock with 9W’s banks continues in court.
The banks have stated that the consortium hasn’t repaid any money to creditors. At the same time, Jalan-Kalrock Consortium believes that lenders have prevented the transfer of ownership and have challenged every effort it has made to begin operations at 9W. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal will hear the final round of arguments on August 7.
Jet Airways’ closure was a significant setback for the Indian aviation industry and left a massive vacancy in the market. This has now been filled by other airlines such as Air India (AI), Vistara (UK), and Indigo (6E). With that said 9W’s return to the skies would be a welcome development for the Indian aviation industry.
Jet Airways would be the first Indian airline to be revived after ceasing operations.
Featured image: A Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER on approach to London Heathrow Airport in 2012. Photo: Robert Underwood – VT-JEH@LHR 18AUG12, CC BY-SA 2.0