The liquidity crunch, and the subsequent delay in sealing a resolution deal, may have cost Jet Airways its second rank in Indian aviation's pecking order. At least on standalone basis, a metric to evaluate market share that excludes an airline's low-cost arm.
Monthly data from regulator DGCA for January shows that SpiceJet, with a market share of 13.3 percent is now second to market leader IndiGo, which continues with its dominant position, at 42.5 percent.
Jet Airways is not even third now. Air India takes that spot with 12.2 percent, followed by the Naresh Goyal-airline with 11.9 percent.
Only solace for the distressed airline is the support given by its low cost arm Jet Lite, which has a share of 1.7 percent. Put together, Jet Airways has a total market share of 13.6 percent, taking it to the second place.
The shift, in fact, had taken place in December itself. The market shares were - Air India at 12.4 percent, SpiceJet with 12.3 percent, and Jet Airways at 12.2 percent.
A year ago, in January 2018, Jet Airways was sitting pretty with a market share of 14.3 percent, followed by Air India (13.3 percent) and SpiceJet (12.6 percent). Additionally, Jet Lite had a pie of 2.3 percent.
The fall in its ranking is symbiotic of the troubles at Jet Airways. Even though its board, and later shareholders, gave nod for its resolution plan, the deal hasn't fructified yet.
An urgent meeting called on February 27, by State Bank of India, the lead lender to Jet Airways, with Goyal and Etihad Airways Tony Douglas hasn't given the breakthrough. And interestingly, it is now Eithad that is holding up the resolution plan.
Sources told Moneycontrol that Goyal has "agreed to dilute more than planned," and may also step down as the airline's Chairman.
According to the resolution plan, 114 million fresh shares will be allotted. This would dilute stakes of Goyal - at present 51 percent - and Etihad, which has 24 percent.
The banks will emerge as the biggest shareholders, and all the three stakeholders are expected to pump in more money.
The liquidity is important for Jet as it has now been forced to ground one-third of its fleet for non-payment to lessors, and want of spare parts. The airline also cancelled over 300 flights in February and March as it reworked its network to save costs. And while it has cleared part of the salary dues of its pilots and engineers, a lot more remain.
The airline has debts of over Rs 8,000 crore and has repayments of Rs 1,700 crore due by end of March.
But Etihad has put in number of conditions for its investment. Reports add that the Abu Dhabi-based airline first wants the resolution plan to be implemented by the banks, before it brings any money.