aviation | IST

Jet Airways assures pilots of fund infusion via Etihad Airways by mid-December

In a breather for Jet Airways, the airline's promoter has assured pilots of fresh fund injection via Etihad Airways, saying that an announcement is likely by mid-December, sources close to the development told CNBC-TV18.
"FDI money is coming based on guarantees by Etihad," one of the sources said, requesting anonymity.
Jet Airways founder and promoter Naresh Goyal, in a meeting held on November 26, assured pilots that their salaries will be paid on time from April 1, 2019 and that all the dues will be cleared within these four months, said the sources, asking not to be named, adding that a meeting is likely to be held on December 6 to discuss the payment plan for the salaries.
The development comes at a time when there have been preliminary discussion between the airline and the Tata group for a stake sale. However,  CNBC-TV18 has learnt that while the salt-to-software conglomerate was "very interested" in the deal, it has "apparently been called off".
Tata group was reportedly pressing on a non-compete clause and shutdown of JetLite, the low-cost subsidiary of Jet Airways, which did not go down well with Goyal.
The cash-strapped airline has been struggling to stay afloat, reporting heavy net losses for the past three consecutive quarters, forcing it to take several steps to cut costs.
In a recent development, the airline announced that it will stop providing free meals to most domestic economy class passengers from January. Passengers will, instead, have the option to buy meals on board, the airline said in a statement on Monday.
It has been paying salaries to pilots and senior management in staggered manner since August. The airline is also cutting flights on some routes and increasing frequencies on others to boost profit.
With a likely increase in Etihad's stake, an overhaul and remodeling of sectors will be on the cards, leading to more flights to Abu Dhabi, Etihad's hub.
"Etihad has always been keen on Boeing 737, 777... now with the incoming long-range 737 MAX of Jet Airways, Etihad can connect to cities like Cairo, Tehran. There will be certain restructuring and downsizing of operations," another source said.
When contacted for a comment on the story, Jet Airways said refused to comment on the "speculations".
Now, while it look like roadblocks have been cleared for a clear take-off of Jet Airways-Etihad deal, it still remains to be seen what will be the exact contours of the deal and how efficiently does Jet get back on track as the headwinds of weak fare levels, volatility in crude oil prices and currency depreciation will still remain.
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