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New Delhi: The new promoters of Jet Airways (India) Limited, Jalan-Kalrock consortium, has appointed former Sri Lankan Airlines chief executive Vipula Gunatilleka as the chief financial officer (CFO) of Jet Airways (India) Limited.

Gunatilleka, who will be joining the airline from 1 March, has also been credited for the turnaround of the loss-making national carrier of Angola, TAAG Angola Airlines, where he held the position of CFO and board member.

"Vipula is an aviation expert and regarded as a turnaround specialist in the industry. 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 the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium.

A qualified chartered accountant, Gunatilleka, who has an MBA degree from the University of Colombo, is also a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (FCMA) from UK and Certified Public Accountant (FCPA) from Australia.

"Mr Gunatilleka is known for his astute knowledge in aircraft financing, strategic planning, cost-efficient business modelling and openness to adopting hybrid models to keep business costs low and efficiency high," the Jalan-Kalrock consortium said in a statement.

Jet Airways, which founder Naresh Goyal led for more than 25 years, was grounded on 17 April 2019 after it ran out of cash.

In June 2021, NCLT approved the resolution plan submitted by the Jalan-Kalrock consortium, consisting of UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan and UK-based Kalrock Capital.

The consortium has proposed to pay 1,183 crores to creditors over five years from the proceeds of the sale of assets and cash flow.

In December, the Jalan-Kalrock consortium said they planned to restart Jet's operations at the earliest with six narrow-body planes this year, after the revalidation of its air operator permit.

To be sure, the consortium has made several periodic announcements since last June about restarting the airline but are yet to do so.

The exit of key executives in charge of the airline's revival has added to the challenges.

 

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