The Mumbai bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Tuesday directed the bankruptcy resolution professional of Jet Airways (India) Ltd to discuss the grounded airline’s salary payment issues with its Committee of Creditors (CoC).
The airline, which has not flown since 18 April, has held back salaries since January to a section of its staff, including pilots, engineers and general managers. It has also deferred salaries since March to all employees, as it battled financial woes before finally suspending operations due to an acute fund crunch.
The tribunal, consisting of judges V.P. Singh and Ravikumar Duraisamy, will hear the case again on 8 August. It will also take up a progress report from Ashish Chhawchharia of Grant Thornton India, the court-appointed resolution professional on that day.
Employee associations of Jet Airways had earlier sought the court’s permission to release their salaries.
The NCLT bench also said it will hear the claims of Luckystar Pvt. Ltd, which owns Siroya Centre, the former headquarters of Jet Airways, at its next hearing. Luckystar had earlier approached the NCLT for taking possession of Siroya Centre from Jet Airways after its lease expired on 7 June.
A consortium of 26 banks led by State Bank of India had approached the NCLT to recover dues of more than ₹8,500 crore from Jet Airways. The carrier also owes more than ₹10,000 crore to hundreds of vendors, primarily aircraft lessors and more than ₹3,000 crore to its employees.
The lenders tried unsuccessfully to sell the airline as a going concern and eventually approached the bankruptcy court last month.
The Mumbai bench of the NCLT admitted Jet Airways on 20 June for bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The court also approved an insolvency resolution professional (IRP) to oversee the insolvency proceedings.
The tribunal also ordered the IRP to complete the IBC process in three months, even though the law allows six months, saying “the matter is of national importance".
Last week, the Jet Airways CoC approved an interim funding of $10 million (about ₹69 crore) for the airline, which will be used for the corporate insolvency resolution process.
Resolution professional Chhawchharia has set 6 August as the date for issuing a provisional list of prospective resolution applicants, and 11 August as the last date of submission of objections.
The final list of prospective resolution applicants will be issued on 14 August, while the final date for submission of resolution plans of these applicants will be 5 September.