India’s first private airline Jet Airways have been facing a huge financial crisis since months. Most of its fleet has been grounded over non-payment of lease rentals and other dues. As of today, only five planes are operating. Today, the three-hour long board meeting of its stakeholders also remained inconclusive as the management struggled over the looming threats.
Lenders of the airline are reportedly undecided over whether to extend the 1000 crore interim funding requested by the airline without any collateral. in addition to this the airline’s pilots body, The National Aviator’s Guild has threatened to seek resolution under the insolvency laws. Over 16,000 employees of the airlines have not been paid their salaries since January.
Pradeep Singh Kharola, the secretary of civil aviation had informed yesterday that the airliner had requested an emergency funding of over Rs 400 crores but it is up to the lenders to decide on it. Vinod Dubey, the CEO of Jet Airways has sent a letter to SBI, the lead lender, stating that without the immediate disbursement of funds, the airlines will cease to function.
Etihad Airways, which owns 24% in Jet, was to infuse capital into the airlines to solves its financial crisis, but the talks are stalled over several disagreements. Etihad has not agreed to a debt resolution plan proposed by lenders of Jet Airways, led by State Bank of India. According to the proposal, the consortium of lenders, will convert its loans into shares and pump in an additional ₹1,000 crore to raise its stake to 29.5%. On the other hand, Etihad was also expected to infuse between ₹1,600 crore and ₹1,900 crore to raise its shareholding to 24.9%. However, the bidding process is still under deliberation.
However, amidst news of the financial crisis of the airliner being far from resolution and reports that it may soon be grounded, there are some self-proclaimed journalists who are quick to pin this purely private business issue on the government of India. Vinod Kapri, the group editor of TV9 Bharatvarsh, whose Modi hatred is well known, attempted to pin the Jet Airways crisis over the government of India.
भारत की सबसे बड़ी Airline mid air crash का शिकार हो चुकी है ..पर चिंता मत कीजिए। एक बार फिर विकास को वोट कीजिए .. 2022 तक रूकिए .. भारत और शक्तिशाली हो जाएगा। pic.twitter.com/ILzmM7YuSi
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) April 17, 2019
Kapri, whose ‘journalism’ often sounds like Congress’ election campaign, insinuated that the entire Jet Airways crisis is somehow the fault of the Modi government. However, the people on Twitter were not amused to see such depravity coming from a media person.
So a pvt. airline ( Jet Airways) failing is also Modi’s fault now.
By this logic, Was Manmohan Singh responsible for failure of Kingfisher airlines?
Modi ke aane se ‘journalists’ ka ‘maansik vikas’ ruk sa gaya hai.
Love is blind. But hatred is blind, deaf & dumb. https://t.co/1kjvcZvkLF
— Nitin Gupta (@Nitin_Rivaldo) April 17, 2019
एक प्राइवट ऐरलीनेस की समस्या है ! इस में नरेंद्र मोदी और विकास कहाँ से आ गया ! थोड़ी बहुत पढ़ाई लिखाई kar लीजिए ! अगले Pradhanmantri भी नरेंद्र मोदी ही हैं ! कहीं तकलीफ़ में ना आ जाओ ! किसी के लिए इतना ज़हर रखना सेहत के लिए अच्छा नहीं है ! https://t.co/RfsANLhiPW
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) April 17, 2019
The employees of the crisis-ravaged airliner have launched a campaign and some of them had even organised a demonstration seeking government intervention to save their jobs. However, though the government must be concerned over the crisis of such a large private organisation in the country, the blatant poiticisation of the purely financial crisis, that can happen to any large company, and an attempt by the journalist to peddle a political narrative was called out widely by many.
Reports mention that the ministry of civil aviation has been constantly in touch with Jet Airways management and lenders.
In fact, financial experts have stated that the troubles of the airliner can be traced back to the 2006 purchase of Air Sahara by the company which had turned out to be a catastrophe. Jet had to write off its entire investment in the deal in 2015 after the Air Sahara, renamed Jetlite, continued making loses.
The arrival of other low-cost airlines like Indigo, Spicejet, and GoAir is also considered as a reason Jet had to incur losses because the airline failed to acknowledge the cutthroat competition on time. Using fiercely competitive pricing and budgeting moves suited to the ever demanding Indian market, these airlines had managed to grab a major chunk of domestic carriers business in India.