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Sad day for Indian aviation, wake up call for policymakers: SpiceJet chief on Jet crisis

SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh. (File)

Following the stepping down of Jet Airways founder and chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife, Anita Goyal, from the board of the ailing airline, SpiceJet chief Ajay Singh said on Monday it was a "sad day" for Indian aviation.

Saying that the development was a wake-up call for Indian policymakers, SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said there was an urgent need to address structural challenges in the aviation sector.

"Today is indeed a sad day for Indian aviation. By launching a truly world class airline, Naresh and Anita Goyal made India proud. This is also a wake-up call for Indian policymakers. We urgently need to address structural challenges that make India’s airlines uncompetitive to airlines around the world," Singh said.

Jet Airways has been grappling with more than Rs 8,200 crore debt, unpaid salaries and a grounded fleet. At the board meeting on Monday, it was decided that the airline will also receive immediate funding of up to Rs 1,500 crore by lenders.

It has been learnt that Jet Airways' aircraft lessors have approached other airlines, including budget carrier SpiceJet to lease Jet's grounded aircraft.

SpiceJet is looking to induct more planes after the grounding of 12 of its Boeing 737 MAX planes has caused a capacity crunch. "In order to cater the gap from the reduced fleet size due to the grounding of MAX fleet, the company is in discussion with various lessors globally to induct aircraft in its fleet," SpiceJet said in a filing to the BSE last week.