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Last Updated : Apr 03, 2019 02:29 PM IST | Source:

Jet Airways fleet now down to 26, it lowest in nearly 20 years

This is the airline's smallest fleet since the turn of the century

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Jet Airways now has 26 planes in its fleet, down from its original strength of 119 a few months back. The distressed airline on April 2 said it had grounded 15 more aircraft after failing to pay its lessors.

This is the airline's smallest fleet since the turn of the century. It had begun operations in 1993 with a fleet of four planes.

The 26-aircraft fleet now include 10 B737, seven B777, three A330 and six ATR aircraft, sources told Moneycontrol.

In a statement to the BSE on April 2, the airline said it has grounded 15 more aircraft "due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors under their respective lease agreements."

Clarifying on doubts if it can operate international routes, Jet Airways on April 3 said: "As informed to the regulator (DGCA), the airline is operating a curtailed schedule with sufficient number of aircraft and is compliant with applicable guidelines."

Apart from the truncated fleet, the airline is also struggling to retain its pilots. While the pilots union had deferred its strike to April 15 after salary dues of December 2018 were cleared by the airline, many pilots have joined rivals such as IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet.

The pilots had originally planned to go on a strike on April 1. They are yet to receive salaries for the last three months, starting January.

Jet Airways has offered many of them to go on a 'long break". Offering a six month sabbatical to its pilots, the airline on April 2 shared a new roster for its Boeing 737 aircraft crew.

"Due to changes in operational requirement, B737 flight crew will be assigned a five-day working and three-days off roster from April 11 to April 26," the airline said, adding: "Additionally, flight crew seeking a long break/sabbatical between April-September may put in their requests to the fleet office for approval."

Earlier, the management had asked its expat pilots to go on leave of absence from April 1.

Around 200 pilots are said to have written to CEO Vinay Dube, calling for urgent action. The company had a pool of a little over 1,500 pilots before the crisis began.

Though the airline plans to get back 75 of its aircraft from lessors over the next two months, this will depend on the funding that its lenders have promised. Led by State Bank of India (SBI), the lenders were expected to transfer Rs 1,500 crore to Jet Airways, but that is yet to happen.
First Published on Apr 3, 2019 12:10 pm
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