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However, the rider in the order is that the DGCA will decide slots at airports that Jet Airways will get, within 90 days, based on existing guidelines.

A Jet Airways plane in the skies
Money Aviation Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 13:31

Over two years after suspending operations, the resolution plan of Jet Airways by the Jalan-Kalrock consortium has been approved by the National Company Law Tribunal on Tuesday, but with riders. Jet Airways had suspended operations on April 17, 2019 and in June 2019, the airline was admitted into the NCLT for resolution under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Jet’s lenders had approved the consortium’s resolution in October 2020. 

The rider in the order is with respect to allotting slots at airports where the NCLT has said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will have to make the decision within 90 days and it will be based on existing guidelines, and that Jet cannot claim historicity.  The court can be approached if the timeline has to be extended beyond 90 days. No directions were given by the court to the Union government or DGCA. The civil aviation ministry and DGCA had earlier told the bench that the criteria for historicity cannot be based on the contention that the airline was in operation for 25 years. 

According to a Business Standard report, the consortium has received assurances from 30 airports that 170 slots can be made available if operations are restarted. The ministry and DGCA had said Jet Airways does not qualify for grant of slots on the basis of historic precedence and and the allocation will be based on slot allocation guidelines, it had said. In March, the ministry and DGCA told NCLT that slots allocated to Jet Airways were not the airline's asset.

After Jet Airways closed down operations, its slots were offered to other airlines so that they can ramp up their capacity at the earliest and were kept temporary. "Many airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air etc. responded positively and invested huge amount of money and procured number of aircraft immediately and in fact even outnumbered the figure which was reduced on account of suspension of operation by Jet Airways... now such entities can''t be deprived of these slots, without any valid reasons and also without any force of law," the affidavit by the government said.

Employee unions Jet Airways Cabin Crew Association and Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association welcomed the verdict. Amit Kelkar, on behalf of JAMEWA and Jacca, called it a historic moment for Indian Civil Aviation. 

“It proves that brand Jet Airways always had value. This is the first airline to get resolved under IBC. Probably the first airline in the world to revive after such a long duration of suspension of operations. We express our gratitude to the Hon NCLT bench. Kudos to RP Ashish Chhawchharia and his team. A joyous moment for all the staff for keeping faith in their beloved airline inspite of all odds and sufferings,” he said. 

Jet Airways had started as an air taxi operator on May 5, 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.

With inputs from agencies

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