Air India chairman
Ashwani Lohani is one of the contenders to head the operations at Jet Airways in the interim period till the lenders find a suitable investor for the beleaguered carrier, said sources familiar with the matter.
"Initial discussions have taken place with Lohani. The civil aviation ministry is also in touch with him on the matter," one of the sources told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity.
Lenders are looking at an interim arrangement where Jet Airways is being run by a competent professional with experience in operating an airline and Lohani, who is serving his second tenure as the chairman of Air India is being looked at, another source said.
On Monday, the airline's founding Chairman Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita Goyal, their two nominees -- Nasim Zaidi and Gaurang Shetty -- and Etihad's nominee Kevin Knight
stepped down from the board of Jet Airways and paved the way for an interim funding of Rs 1,500 crore by the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India.
The lenders will now float an expression of interest to invite bids for their stake in the airline on April 9 and expect to find a new investor by the end of June quarter.
The interim funding is expected to help in payment of some dues to employees and vendors and bring back some grounded fleet into active operations.
The new management of the airline on Tuesday will lay out their plan of action to the civil aviation ministry with regard to route and aircraft utilisation, aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said.
"Have called a meeting of Jet Airways new management at 2:00 pm where top officials from operations, finance etc will be present. We will discuss the operational plan in order to bring in certainty in operations of Jet in the coming days," Kharola said.
The ministry has been closely watching and monitoring the situation and the focus is the safety of passengers and to ensure that they aren't put to any undue hardship, he added."So far, there have been cases of high fares and passenger inconvenience. We will discuss with Jet in detail how and when they will restore planes on interim funding... Will assess the gap and then review how to bridge the gap," Kharola said.