Lenders of Jet Airways have approached the government to safeguard the grounded carrier s international landing slots which are critical to the airline s valuation by qualified bidders.
The lenders are understood to have urged the ministry of civil aviation to protect routes operated by the full-service carrier and its overseas flying rights apart from slots at airports.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allotted majority of Jet’s domestic airports slots to other carriers for a period of three months to operate. It has 280 slots in Mumbai and 180 in Delhi the two busiest airports in the country.
The civil aviation secretary had said these slots can be reclaimed if the lenders find a new buyer.
Jet serviced more that 50 destinations, including 20 international locations like London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Colombo and Singapore.
Lenders headed by State Bank of India have shortlisted four suitors Jet s equity partner Etihad Airways, India s sovereign wealth fun NIIF, US-based TPG Capital and IndiGo Partners to acquire 31.2-75% stake in the beleaguered carrier. The bidding process is expected to be completed by May 10.
Separately, Jet employees union has asked the aviation regulator to stop allocation of the airline s slots to other carriers till the end of the bidding process to protect the value of the airline.
The All India Jet Airways Technicians Association (AIJATA) also threatened to take the legal course if allocation was not stopped. “Otherwise, we would be forced to knock the legal doors for a resolution,” AIJATA said, adding that slots allocated to Jet are its property and the airline is yet to close.
The grounding of planes by Jet has resulted in capacity reduction in the domestic sector, which has also led to a rise in airfares in many sectors.