Lenders to grounded Jet Airways (India) Ltd have received expressions of interest (EoIs) from Anil Agarwal’s family trust, Panama-based fund Avantulo Group and a Russian firm, two people aware of the development said on the condition of anonymity.
The identity of the Russian firm couldn’t be ascertained.
“Volcan Investment, an investment company for Anil Agarwal, in an exploratory move, has sought an EoI for Jet Airways, to understand the business scenario for the company and the industry," the company said in a statement.
The bankrupt airline has received expressions of interest (EoIs) from three interested parties—two financial investors and a global company—Mint had reported earlier.
Etihad Airways PJSC, which owns a 24% stake in Jet Airways, is not among the bidders.
The EoIs are technically not bids, but they have helped lenders sense the level of interest in the airline. However, lenders are expecting these entities to put in bids, as the deadline was extended to accommodate EOIs from some of them.
Access to prime slots at key airports, a stake in a profitable frequent flyer programme and a few relatively old planes appear to be the only assets before potential bidders of grounded Jet Airways (India) Ltd.
“Jet’s only value at this point remains its slots at key airports like New Delhi and Mumbai, stake in its frequent flyer programme and a few old wide-bodies that it owns, though most of these planes are technically owned by the banks," said an executive of a rival domestic airline, who didn’t want to be named. Jet Airways, which was until a few months ago India’s second-largest airline, operated about 106 departure and arrival slots each daily at Mumbai. In New Delhi, it operated about 79 departure and arrival slots each daily.
Slots at the busy Mumbai and Delhi airports are considered highly valuable since they allow an airline to operate these trunk flights. Airlines submit their schedules to authorities before summer and winter seasons as per International Air Transport Association norms.
Slots are allocated based on various factors including the number of aircraft operated by an airline. According to a June report by Elara Capital, SpiceJet was given 43% of Jet Airways’ slots in the March-June period at Mumbai and Delhi airports, followed by IndiGo (32%), GoAir (13%), Vistara (7%) and AirAsia India (4%). “Given Delhi and Mumbai airports comprised 60% of domestic passenger movement during FY19, we believe these two airports are proxy of all-India market share gain by carriers at the expense of Jet Airways," Elara Capital said in its report.
“As a consequence, we expect SpiceJet’s market share to rise by 6%, followed by IndiGo at 5% and GoAir at 2%," it added. A 49.9% stake in Jet Privilege Pvt. Ltd (JPPL) is likely to be the key attraction for those bidding for the grounded airline, as the shares held by the airline in its frequent flyer programme will be transferred to successful bidders, two people directly aware of the ongoing discussions had earlier told Mint on the condition of anonymity. JPPL, which is 49.9% owned by Jet Airways is a profitable entity, with about ₹839 crore of cash in hand at the end of 2018.