Jet Airways grounds seven more planes as crisis deepens

Only 42 of its 119 planes in operation

March 23, 2019 10:21 pm | Updated 10:21 pm IST - Mumbai

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways plane is parked as another moves to runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

Jet Airways grounded seven more aircraft on Saturday amid deeping crisis over non-payment of lease rentals.

This takes the total number of planes grounded to 77. The airline now has only 42 of its fleet of 119 aircraft in operation. “65% of the Jet Airways fleet is grounded as of Saturday,” aviation analyst Ameya Joshi said.

In a statement, an airline spokesperson said: “Jet Airways is currently operating a curtailed schedule, having made certain proactive adjustments, bearing in mind the likely, yet interim non-availability of some aircraft in its fleet in the near future.”

‘Low margins’

Meanwhile, Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said he would hate to see Jet Airways going under.

Mr. Lohani said in a social media post that competitive businesses could never be sustainable with margins as low as in India’s airline industry. Twenty years ago, the average price of a Mumbai-Delhi air ticket was the same as it is today, while the cost went up substantially, he said. “The fragility of the aviation business, especially the airline sector, has to be viewed in this backdrop. Competitive businesses can never be sustainable with margins as low as in the airline industry in India,” he said.

“A singular strand of negativity, and the businesses come crashing down as we have been witnessing regularly in the last more than two decades.”

“The sector needs to help itself proactively,” he said.

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