Mumbai: Jet Airways (India) Ltd is in talks to raise as much as $800 million from the sale and leaseback (SLB) of 16 aircraft owned by the airline, according to a person close to the development.

The cash-strapped airline has 124 aircraft in its fleet, including 16 that it owns—10 Boeing 777, three Airbus A 330 and three Boeing 737. The rest are on lease.

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The airline, owned by Naresh Goyal, is in talks with several parties for sale and leaseback of the 16 aircraft it owns and hopes to complete the process soon, said the person mentioned above, who didn’t want to be identified.

A sale and leaseback is a transaction in which the owner sells the aircraft, and then takes it back on lease from the buyer. This kind of deal typically removes the aircraft, and its associated debt, from the carrier’s balance sheet.

Jet Airways is facing a financial crunch because of rising fuel prices and a weakening rupee, which have taken up the operating costs of airlines as most payments are dollar-denominated. While the domestic aviation sector faces headwinds, Jet Airways, which is essentially a full-service carrier, also faces stiff competition from budget airlines.

Jet Airways chief financial officer Amit Agarwal told analysts in August that the airline will aim to raise funds by conducting SLB of aircraft owned by it in the coming quarters.

“...obviously since considering that kind of an equity sitting in these aircraft, we have clearly identified on our balance sheet if you recall on the March that these are the assets held-for-sale," Agarwal had said during the post result analyst call. “So we have a clear intent of doing a portion of this fleet on sale and leaseback," he said.

“Jet Airways should get about $800 million from the sale and leaseback of 16 aircraft, depending on the condition of the aircraft, engines and hours clocked by these planes," said Mark Martin, founder and chief executive officer of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC.

Martin said a new Boeing 777 aircraft typically costs about $285 million, on the marked price, and about $220-230 million each if an airline places a bulk order while a new Airbus 330 costs about $80-100 million, depending on the configuration, he said.

A Jet spokesperson said: “As a policy, Jet Airways does not comment on speculation."

Jet Airways shares closed at 229.30, up 6.06 %, on the BSE.

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