Update: The inevitable has happened. India’s Jet Airways has ceased operations as of April 17, 2019.
I haven’t written about the Jet Airways mess yet, and I’m sorry about that. I’m not sure why, but it has just been so involved and constantly changing that I felt like I couldn’t do it justice. However, something is better than nothing.
Jet Airways has long been considered to be the “premium” Indian long haul airline, and for many has been the airline of choice over Air India. The airline had an investment from Etihad, and my flights on them have been great.
Jet Airways’ 777 first class
Unfortunately conditions at the airline have deteriorated significantly. The airline has been looking for investors, though has been unsuccessful. As a result, Jet Airways hasn’t been able to pay their bills.
The company has racked up over a billion dollars in debt, and has missed payments for employees, fuel, and even aircraft lease payments. At the beginning of the year Jet Airways had over 120 planes, while now they’re down to just over a dozen planes, so their fleet has shrunk by nearly 90%.
To put into perspective just how bad things are, here’s a Flightradar24 graphic showing the number of planes the airline has had flying a year ago, six months ago, three months ago, one month ago, one week ago, and now. Ouch.
The active Jet Airways fleet:
1 year ago
6 months ago
3 months ago
1 month ago
1 week ago
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) April 11, 2019
Yesterday the airline was even forced to ground all international flights, due to Indian regulations requiring a minimum number of planes to operate international flights.
Creditors have given the airline until today for potential buyers to declare their interest in buying a controlling stake in Jet Airways. There have been all kinds of rumors as to what companies might be interested. Etihad has been thrown around, though even airlines like Air Canada are allegedly interested, which I find highly unlikely.
Jet Airways’ 737 business class
All of this comes in the midst of elections in India, where the country is voting on a prime minister, which no doubt increases the stakes in all of this, given what a big company Jet Airways is (or at least was).
This is a situation that’s worth watching over the coming days. Either the airline will get an outside investment, they’ll be bailed out by the government, or they could even go out of business completely. Things aren’t looking good…