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Last Updated : Apr 10, 2019 10:32 AM IST | Source:

No suitors yet, Jet Airways may extend EoI deadline

The deadline to submit an Expression of Interest expires at 6 pm on Wednesday.

Moneycontrol News @moneycontrolcom
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With the first two days attracting no suitors to the table, all eyes are on Jet Airways as the deadline to submit an Expression of Interest expires at 6 pm on April 10, 2019.

If the response remains poor, sources have told Moneycontrol that the airline's lenders may even extend the deadline.

It is critical for the troubled airline to get bidders as it tries to get a buyer who will bring urgent funding to pay employees, lessors and slowly get its operations back to the pre-crisis level.

The airline is now flying 26 of its 119 aircraft and deferred salary payments to all its employees in March. Its pilots union, National Aviators Guild, sent a notice to CEO Vinay Dube on Tuesday, demanding the payment of salary dues by April 14. If the company fails to do so, the employees will “resort to all constitutional and legal methods available”.

The airline owes banks over Rs 8,000 crore.

The lenders may also extend time for Etihad Airways which holds 24 percent stake in Jet Airways. Etihad is expected to submit an EoI to complete negotiations with lenders and the regulator authority. The Abu Dhabi-based airline may also need a nod from its board before submitting the expression of interest. The board may meet on Wednesday to clear the proposal to participate in the Jet Airways bidding.

At the same time, it is also important to find a new owner for the airline as soon as possible to keep it flying. Though banks were expected to put in Rs 1,500 crore as emergency funding, only about Rs 150 crore has been transferred so far.

Apart from Etihad, private equity majors and India's sovereign fund, the NIIF, are among the interested bidders.

Sovereign funds, according to the guidelines, do not need to submit EoI and can progress straight to the bids stage.

Lenders led by the State Bank of India earlier said that, if the bidding didn't go through as planned, other options would be looked at. Those could include bankruptcy proceedings against the airline.

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First Published on Apr 10, 2019 10:00 am
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