''We got the airline at a very competitive price due to the covid situation. Our cost is going to be much less than any other airline in the future. This is because we are going to start the airline without any liabilities.''
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI :
The consortium consisting of asset management firm Kalrock Capital and entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan, who are currently awaiting an approval from The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to restart operations at Jet Airways (India) Ltd, will continue to operate the airline as a publicly listed company. The consortium hopes to re-start operations within four to six months of getting an approval from the tribunal, which is set to hear the resolution plan on Monday. The new promoters will keep the 'Jet Airways' brand intact and also induct some of the older staff into the airline. Jet Airways under new promoters will start operations with about 25 aircraft fleet, with a base at New Delhi (NCR) and restart international flights by the end of the year, Murari Lal Jalan told Mint in an interview, adding that plans to launch operations will be put to motion with the approval of the resolution plan by the NCLT. Edited excerpts.
There has been quite a bit of delay from the court in giving its approval. How is this expected to impact your plans?
I don't want to comment on the judiciary. Let them take time. But, yes, the sooner the approval comes through, the better it is. Anyway, we couldn't have started operations by the beginning of the summer schedule even if the NCLT cleared the plan two months ago. But, we are very much on track to restart operations within the summer schedule. It could be in the middle of summer schedule or the end of summer schedule. We hope to start operations within four to six months of getting the court's approval.
How are you going to secure your finances?
I am in one of the best situations. We got the airline at a very competitive price due to the covid situation. Our cost is going to be much less than any other airline in the future. This is because we are going to start the airline without any liabilities. By the time we are air borne (start operations) the market will come back 100%.
How are you managing your capital requirements?
We have submitted our plans to the committee of creditors (CoC), which has been accepted. We are very much on time to make the payments as per the regulations, as per our commitment. We are prepared with the capital requirement plan for the next couple of years. Everything has been arranged. I would not like to comment on the figure now since the resolution plan is yet to be cleared by the NCLT.
Do you see former staff of the airline join the venture?
Jet's former staff are assets and we will definitely want to look after them. We will do whatever is possible and whatever is practical. They are human capital, and experienced professionals, who we are looking forward to working with.
Jet's arrival/departure and parking slots, especially at New Delhi and Mumbai airports, have been distributed to other airlines. How do you plan to get them back?
As far as slots are concerned, we are very optimistic. We have been assured by the ministry (ministry of civil aviation) that whatever slot is required will be made available. Also, a lot more slots are available now, than what it was a year-ago. I don't foresee any problem with slots in the beginning.
What kind of aircraft fleet are you looking to operate?
We are in talks with leasing companies and aircraft manufacturers from the day we put in a bid. We will sign agreements as soon as NCLT gives it approval. It can be either Boeing or Airbus. We could also be getting new aircraft.
What made you enter the aviation sector?
I have always been fascinated with aviation. And fortunately, I got the opportunity to bid for Jet Airways. We also got a very good valuation for the airline due to covid-19 pandemic. I am happy and fortunate to be in this position.
Have you taken a decision on branding and positioning of the airline?
We will definitely continue the way it was. Jet Airways will remain a full service offering. We believe in continuity and we will do the same as it used to be. The name of the airline will also remain unchanged.
Will you onboard any other investor?
As of now the plan is to keep Jet Airways within the consortium but then things can change depending on the situation. Nothing can be ruled out. But as of now, we have no plans to look for any other investor.