Financially beleaguered Jet Airways faces another crisis as lessors are offering 50 of its Boeing aircraft to SpiceJet.
According to industry insiders, at least 50 aircraft are on offer under dry lease terms from Jet's lessors. These lessors have been able to get their aircraft grounded as dues were not paid to them, said a source.
The development has been received optimistically by SpiceJet which had to ground 12 of its 737 Max 8 aircraft due to government's safety restrictions.
"Lessors with 50 planes, all belonging to Jet, have contacted SpiceJet," a source told IANS in Mumbai. "They are desperate to get out of Jet's financial mess," the source added.
The cash-strapped carrier is regularly grounding its aircraft as it is unable to pay the dues to its lessors. So far it has been forced to ground over 40 aircraft following its inability to clear the dues.
Industry sources say the airline has grounded over 50% of 123 aircraft strong fleet. On Monday too, following a similar pattern, Jet Airways informed the BSE that four aircraft were to be grounded due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors.
On Tuesday afternoon, aviation regular Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said Jet Airways has only 41 aircraft in its fleet for operations and that there may be further attrition in the fleet size and flights ahead.
The DGCA made the disclosure after a meeting with Jet Airways' representatives here.
"DGCA reviewed the performance of Jet Airways on operational, airworthines and passenger facilitation today. The Current availability of aircraft in the fleet for operation is 41 and accordingly, a schedule for 603 domestic flights and 382 international flights has been drawn. However, it is a dynamic situation and there may be further attrition in the coming weeks," a DGCA statement said.
According to the statement, the DGCA instructed the airline to comply with the relevant provisions of the applicable CARs (civil aviation rules) for facilitation of passengers regarding timely communication, compensation, refunds and providing alternate flights, wherever applicable.
"The DGCA is ensuring that all aircraft in the fleet, whether in operation or on ground, are maintained in accordance with Approved Maintenance Programme (AMP)," it said.
Jet was also directed to ensure that no pilot/cabin crew/aircraft maintenance engineer, who had reported stress of any nature, be rostered on duty.