Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday directed civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola to review issues concerning Jet Airways, which has been operating with less than 10 planes. "Directed Secretary MoCA to review issues related to Jet Airways. Asked him to take necessary steps to minimise passenger inconvenience and ensure their safety," Prabhu tweeted in the morning. According to industry sources, Jet Airways will operate only nine planes -- two Boeing 737s and seven regional Jet ATRs -- on Friday.
"Jet is operating only nine planes on Friday," a source said. Cash-strapped Jet Airways on Thursday grounded its services to and from the East and Northeast regions. It also suspended its international operations for a day. Consequently, many passengers were left stranded at the airports.
The sources said the airline now owes more than Rs 3,500 crore to passengers on account of flight cancellations alone. As of Thursday noon, the airline operated just 14 planes-- way down from 123 planes in operations at the peak.
In the eventuality of Jet going down, it will be the seventh airline to shutter operations in the past five years as operators like Air Pegasus, Air Costa, Air Carnival, Air Odisha, Air Deccan, and Zoom Air went belly up. Moreover, the airline informed the exchanges late in the evening that it was forced to ground 10 more planes due to non-payment of lease rentals.
"Jet flights to London, Amsterdam and Paris from Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru scheduled for April 12 are cancelled for operational reasons," said an airline source close to the development.
The airline will also not operate the Bengaluru-Amsterdam-Bengaluru flight on April 13, the source added. "All Jet operations to and from the Eastern and Northeastern states are suspended till further notice.
Following this, there are no Jet flights to and from Kolkata, Patna, Guwahati and other airports in the region," a travel industry source told PTI.
When contacted, Jet said its Mumbai-Kolkata, Kolkata-Guwahati and Dehradun-Guwahati-Kolkata flights stand cancelled till further notice due to "operational reasons." As of Thursday noon, the airline had just 14 planes -- way down from 123 planes in operations till a few months back.
"Jet flight 9W 615 Mumbai to Kolkata and 9W 675 from Kolkata to Guwahati on April 12 are cancelled due to operational reasons. Similarly, 9W 676 from Dehradun-Kolkata-Guwahati service has also been cancelled until further notice," Jet said in a statement, adding passenger refunds are being processed.
With just 14 aircraft left for operations, aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told PTI that the ministry was awaiting a report from the DGCA to decide whether Jet can continue to fly on international routes.
The government rules stipulate an airline must have at least 20 planes for operating international operations. Of the 14 aircraft that it operated till Thursday evening, eight were wide-body B777s (seven) and an A330--generally used for long-haul international operations.