Hectic efforts on to save Jet Airways

The Asian Age.  | Ashwin J Punnen

Business, In Other News

SBI Chairman, Aviation Secretary and Principal Secretary to the PM met Finance Minister on Wednesday.

Jet's troubles, have buoyed up the shares of SpiceJet and InterGlobe Aviation, parent of IndiGo.

Mumbai: Despite heavy odds, efforts are on to save Jet Airways from going belly up. Reports have said that lenders led by the State Bank of India are trying to revive debt-laden airline through a change in management, as they feel that a collapse of the airline will not be interest of consumers and competition.

SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said in New Delhi that putting Jet Airways into bankruptcy is the last option and lenders are making every effort to keep the airline flying.

With Jet flying just about a third of its fleet, defaulting on interest payments and delaying salaries to pilot, the SBI Chairman, along with Aviation Secretary Pradip Singh Kharola and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nripendra Misra met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday afternoon.

Kumar said the meeting was to apprise the government, which is an important stakeholder, about the happenings in what was once India's second-biggest airline, and to discuss a bailout package.

"We believe that it is in everybody's interest that Jet Airways continues to fly," Kumar told reporters post-meeting, adding that placing Jet into bankruptcy would mean grounding the airline.

Jet's troubles, have meanwhile, buoyed up the shares of SpiceJet and InterGlobe Aviation, parent of IndiGo.

Investors are betting on the low-cost airlines as woes of Jet Airways woes mounted.

On Wednesday, SpiceJet stock surged 16.3 per cent to close at Rs 91.65, while InterGlobe Aviation gained 7.2 per cent to close at Rs 1,422 per share. The Jet Airways counter saw heavy selling on report that angry passengers demanded refunds and pilots threatened to go on strike over unpaid salaries. The Jet stock plunged 4.8 per cent to Rs 218. Analysts said SpiceJet could benefit from the grounding of Jet Airways planes, and the low-cost carrier is in talks with lessors to lease some of those aircraft.

According to reports, lessors are chasing SpiceJet as they are worried if Jet goes for insolvency, their planes will be stuck in India.

Jet Airways' lessors have offered 50 aircraft to SpiceJet, according to a news wire report.