A revival of Jet Airways will bring back at least 10,000 jobs and also push the aviation sector, which has slowed down
In the run-up to the General Elections, jobs - or the lack of it - was one of the issues that the Opposition had raised against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
While that may have done little damage, with the NDA led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerging victorious on May 23 with an unprecedented mandate, the new government has a great opportunity of showcasing its economic and jobs agenda using Jet Airways as an example .
The Indian airline had suspended its operations on April 17, leaving nearly 20,000 employees uncertain of their future. Also, attempts to revive it has seen little success till date.
Etihad Airways was the only shortlisted bidder to put in a proposal for Jet Airways. But the Abu Dhabi-based airline wants just a minority stake in Jet Airways. It has committed about Rs 1,700 crore, which is a fraction of what the Indian airline needs to restart its engines.
Jet Airways owes banks Rs 8,000 crore and thousands of crores more to lessors, vendors and employees. Not just that, about three-fourth of its fleet has been de-registered and taken away, airports slots have been distributed to peers, and much of its human resource has left to join competition.
There has been some progress. Along with Etihad Airways, the Hinduja group and the London-based AdiGro Aviation are currently in talks to launch a revival plan for the Indian airline. The parties had met on May 23. But sources told Moneycontrol that the talks have been 'inconclusive' till now.
The government can give revival attempts a serious push. First, it can ask banks, led by the state-owned SBI, to bring in some equity. Do remember, the banks had promised to put in Rs 1,500 crore, but that money never came in.
The equity infusion will help the airline to get back some of its aircraft, make some payments to vendors and employees and restart operations.
Jet Airways' insiders said that its engineers and rest of the crew need just about a week to a fortnight to get the planes air-worthy.
Revival of Jet Airways will be a great boost for the NDA government's economic agenda and a credible way to start its new innings. It will not just revive a company but also bring back thousands of jobs.That would be a great push for the overall aviation sector, which in April broke a 55-month run and saw its passenger traffic growth drop by 4.5 percent. Let's see how fast the government responds to the situation.The Great Diwali Discount!
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