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Jalan-Kalrock consortium-owned Jet Airways on Tuesday announced the appointment of former SriLankan Airlines' CEO, Vipula Gunatilleka as the Chief Financial Officer.

"We are excited to welcome Vipula Gunatilleka to our young and energetic team. Vipula is an aviation expert and regarded as a turnaround specialist in the industry.

Jet Airways has begun the hiring process as the airline plans to take off by early 2022, after being grounded for almost three years. Jet Airways said it is looking to onboard experienced Trainers, Captains, and Co-Pilots (Type Rated 737NG) for immediate joining. The latest job advertisement confirms that the airline is set to relaunch anytime soon.

"He has been shortlisted after a rigorous process run by our Executive Team over the last several months," said Ankit Jalan, Member of the Monitoring Committee of Jet Airways and part of Jalan-Kalrock Consortium.

Gunatilleka, who served as the CEO of the SriLankan Airlines till January this year, was brought to restructure the carrier in 2018, as per a release.

"I am certain Vipula will be an asset to the organization and will provide the necessary vision to revive the operations of Jet Airways as per the plans of the Consortium," Jalan added.

Prior to joining SriLankan Airlines, he was the CFO & Board Member of  TAAG Angola Airlines from November 2015 to July 2018 under Emirates Management.

A qualified chartered accountant, Gunatelleka, played a pivotal role to turnaround the loss-making national carrier of Angola, it added.

He  is known for his astute knowledge in aircraft financing, strategic planning, cost-efficient business modelling and openness to adopt hybrid models to keep business costs low and efficiency high, Jet Airways said.

Gunatilleka said, "I am very excited to join the company and I look forward to contributing my knowledge of the last 30 years in Jet Airways' resurgence in its new avatar. We will capitalize on the strong brand value which Jet Airways has in the market and use it to re-build the lost ground."

Jet Airways was grounded on 17 April 2019 as it ran out of cash. It was led by founder Naresh Goyal for over 25 years. However, in June last year, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the insolvency resolution plan submitted by Jalan-Kalrock consortium, comprising British investor Kalrock Capital Management and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan.

This year Jalan-Kalrock Capital consortium said they hoped to restart operations in 2022 with six narrow-body planes after the revalidation of the airline’s air operator permit.

The consortium has proposed to pay 1,183 crore to creditors over five years from the proceeds of the sale of assets and cash flow. It has also outlined a plan to invest 600 crore for the first two years to repay creditors. Besides, the consortium has also proposed to pay 131 crore, 193 crore, and 259 crore to financial creditors at the end of the third, fourth, and fifth year, respectively, from the airline’s cash flow.

(With inputs from PTI)

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