Cash-strapped Jet Airways cuts more domestic flights

Cash-strapped Jet Airways cuts more domestic flights

After pulling out of Abu Dhabi, Manchester and Hong Kong over the past 48 hours, Cash-strapped Jet Airways on Thursday slashed its domestic schedule by cutting departures from Delhi to all metro cities, except Mumbai.

A look at the schedules from Delhi showed that, on Thursday, there were no domestic departures to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. The cash-strapped airline has also stopped accepting bookings for the Mumbai-Hong Kong flight beyond March 22. The Delhi-Hong Kong service was cancelled overnight.

The Naresh Goyal-led Jet is facing its worst financial crisis, with debt exceeding $1 billion. The carrier, which is struggling to stay aloft, has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, and aircraft lessors — resulting in some of them moving to terminate lease deals and take back their aircraft.

Critical period: The Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways is facing its worst financial crisis, with debt exceeding $1 billio

Data available showed that the Manchester-Mumbai route, which was being operated by an Airbus A330-200, is shutting down indefinitely, indicating lessors had grounded the aircraft.

Domestic flights

On Thursday, Jet cancelled 73 of its 117 departures from Mumbai. Similarly, in Delhi it operated only 31 of the 106 published departures.

Of the 31 flights from Delhi, 20 were operated using Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Of these, 7 were to Mumbai, 3 to Amritsar, 2 to Kathmandu, 2 to Dehradun and one each to Pune, Dhaka, Kochi, Srinagar, Singapore and Bangkok. “Flights to Bhopal, Udaipur, Chandigarh, Jaipur, etc. were operated using the ATR 72-500 fleet,” an airline official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

From Bengaluru, Jet operated only 3 flights: one each to Mumbai, Delhi and Amsterdam. “We have cancelled 26 flights out of Bengaluru,” the official said.

At Chennai, 16 departures were cancelled. Of the four flights that operated, 3 were to Mumbai and one to Paris. From Hyderabad, two flights were operated to Mumbai, compared with the 6 departures it normally operates. In Kolkata, 8 out of 10 departures were cancelled, with just one each to Guwahati and Mumbai taking off.

Flights to airports like Mangalore, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhuj, Coimbatore were not being operated, data showed.

Jet’s services to Amsterdam, Paris and London have not been hit. All flights are available for booking through the entire schedule and are operating normally.

The airline is also operating 3 daily flights on the Mumbai-London Heathrow sector and one daily flight on the Delhi-London Heathrow route. These too are available for bookings. “Jet Airways owns 10 Boeing 777-300ER, so the impact on flights to Europe will be minimum,” another official said, declining to be identified.

Engineers’ union

“Amidst all the commotion, this message is to appreciate each one of you who is continuously complying with all the regulations, civil aviation requirements, manufacturer’s approved manuals, company rules and standard procedures, unfazed by the developments around you,” Amit Kelkar, Vice President, Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers’ Welfare Association (JAMEWA), wrote to the airline’s engineers.

“While the JAMEWA committee is in talks with the management on the issue of disbursal of our salaries, let’s all collectively live up to this challenge and continue to maintain our professionalism by delivering safe airplanes for our esteemed guests throughout the network, within India and across the globe, the way we have been always doing,” Mr. Kelkar wrote.

MUMBAI, MARCH 21, 2019