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Jet Airways sale: Eight suitors line up for cash-strapped airline — read details

Manisha Singhal

On the last day of submission of bids for taking charge of troubled carrier Jet Airways, it is understood that eight parties have evinced interest. As earlier reported, apart from Jet s 24% equity partner Etihad Airways, other major parties to have put in bids are US-based private equity firms TPG and Indigo Partners, who have bid separately, and Think Equity Partner and Redcliffe Capital, who have jointly bid.

Contrary to expectations, US-based Delta Airlines, Air France-KLM and Air Canada did not put in bids.

It is understood that Jet Airways promoter-chairman Naresh Goyal, who has stepped down from the board as part of the bank-led resolution process, has also put in his bid in an individual capacity but this could not be ascertained. Goyal could not be reached for comments.

It is understood that some individuals have also put in bids along with some financial investors. These include one Sanjay Bijlani and Sunil Soni, who have jointly bid.

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Similarly, Chaitanya Kumar, formerly of Lehman Brothers, has also put in a bid. Interestingly, Capt Nikhil Vaid, currently executive vice-president at Jet Airways, has also put in a bid in partnership with a Muscat-based firm.

Meanwhile, there has been no respite in the deepening crisis which has crippled Jet s operations, with civil aviation secretary Pradeep Kharola stating on Friday that the troubled carrier will be down to 6-7 operational aircraft Saturday onwards.

Kharola said this after reviewing Jet s operational position through a video conference with the airline s management.

He said the Jet officials had met lenders on Friday seeking interim funding to keep the beleaguered airline afloat.

Jet has been asked by its lenders to restructure interim funding demand. It has funds to stay afloat till Monday. The airline will continue discussions with lenders on April 15, the civil aviation secretary told reporters.

Regarding the bids, the lenders will now examine them in the light of the qualification criteria laid down in the bid document and subsequently, the qualified bidders will be asked to put in binding bids by April 30.

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Lenders are offering prospective bidders equity stake between 31.2% and 75% along with control and management of the airline.

Jet, which had suspended its international operations on Thursday, said on Friday that the same will continue Monday.

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Jet employees sat on a dharna on Friday at the airline s office demanding payment of their pending salaries and also provide clarity on way forward in the wake of delay in fund infusion by the lenders.

As reported earlier, Jet s pilots union had served a notice to the airline management that if their salaries are not cleared by April 14, they will stop flying.

(With inputs from Arun Nayal in New Delhi)