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New Delhi: The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Tuesday approved the resolution plan submitted by Kalrock Capital and UAE-based entrepreneur Murarilal Jalan for the revival of Jet Airways (India) Limited, which has been grounded since April 2019.

The two-judge bench, headed by Janab Mohammed Ajmal and V. Nallasenapathy, directed the Jalan-Kalrock consortium to get the required approval and licences to restart airlines from relevant authorities within 90 days.

The court also rejected pleas by lawyers representing the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to stay the approval as they planned to challenge the bankruptcy court's order.

The MoCA and DGCA had earlier reiterated their stance before the NCLT on the issue of slots stating the Jalan-Kalrock consortium cannot claim historicity on slots that were allocated to them earlier.

A slot is permission given by a coordinator for a planned operation to use the full range of airport infrastructure necessary to arrive or depart at an airport on a specific date and time.

After the grounding of Jet Airways, which held slots at major airports across the country, including ones at New Delhi and Mumbai, its slots were temporarily redistributed to other airlines.

Lawyers representing MoCA and DGCA have argued that though the allocation of Jet's slots to other airlines was temporary, they couldn't be withdrawn from them without any legitimate basis.

The NCLT order is on expected lines though slot expectations of the new promoters are unrealistic, said Kapil Kaul, chief executive officer, Indian Subcontinent and Middle East at aviation consultancy firm CAPA.

"The NCLT order is a massive cleanup - surprisingly- and will allow new promoters to develop a viable business case subject to a significant capitalisation," Kaul added.

Jet Airways was grounded in April 2019 due to an acute fund crunch. The NCLT had in June 2019, admitted the insolvency petition against Jet Airways filed by the lenders' consortium led by State Bank of India (SBI).

The Committee of Creditors (CoC) of the grounded airline had approved the resolution plan submitted by a consortium of UK's Kalrock Capital and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan in October 2020.

The consortium has proposed to invest 600 crore in the first two years in the grounded airline to repay creditors and acquire an 89.79% stake in the carrier.

Of the total, the consortium plans to invest 475 crore and the balance 125 crore by selling existing non-core assets like realty and luxury cars. It has also proposed to pay 131 crore, 193 crore, and 259 crore at the end of the third, fourth and fifth year, respectively, to financial creditors from the airline’s cash flows.

Overall, the consortium hopes to repay 1,183 crore to creditors over five years, which would include collections from asset sale proceeds and cash flows.

Jet Airways started as an air taxi operator on 5 May, 1993, with a fleet of four leased Boeing 737-300 aircraft. The airline, which got listed on domestic bourses in February 2005, operated its first international flight from Chennai to Colombo in March 2004. By the time it was grounded in 2019, the airline had huge domestic and international networks.

Murarilal Jalan had in a February interview to Mint said that he planned to keep Jet Airways public, and hoped to restart operations within four to six months of getting approval from the NCLT.

The new promoters will also retain the ‘Jet Airways’ brand and plan to resume operations with about 25 aircraft, with a base in New Delhi, and restart international flights by the end of 2021, Jalan had said.

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