Beleaguered carrier Jet Airways is in advanced stage of discussions with TruJet to sublease up to seven of its ATR planes to the regional carrier as it seeks to reduce costs and mop up additional revenues amid cash drought, according to an industry source.
These planes are likely to be subleased with its complete crew, maintenance and insurance.
The Naresh Goyal promoted full service carrier currently has 15 ATRs in its fleet. TruJet, which started operations in July 2015 has an all ATR fleet. The deal may be stitched by this month, the source privy to the development said.
The Mumbai based carrier had attempted to phase out these regional jets in the past as well. "Both Jet Airways and TruJet are in the advanced stage of negotiations on the ATR deal. As per the on-going discussions, TruJet will initially lease seven ATRs from Jet Airways," the source said.
While TruJet confirmed its discussions with Jet Airways, the latter said that "it continues to evaluate all possible alternatives".
Partially owned by Gulf carrier Etihad, Jet Airways has been flying into turbulence since the beginning of this year, having reported a massive loss of over Rs 1,000 crore in March quarter.
The source said that the sublease period was likely to be for five years, and under a wet lease arrangement, adding, "If the deal gets through, TruJet could opt for more such planes from the airline." A wet lease is an arrangement under which one airline provides an aircraft, its complete crew, maintenance and insurance to another airline.
"We are working options to induct up to seven aircraft for short period from Jet Airways," a TruJet spokesperson said.
The Hyderabad based airline had last month said it plans to acquire five to seven ATRs and expand the network to 20 more routes by the end of FY19. The carrier currently has five ATR-72s and connects 14 destinations including some under the Centre's regional connectivity scheme, Udan.
"Jet Airways continues to evaluate all possible alternatives to ensure optimum utilisation of its fleet," a Jet Airways spokesperson said.
"Owing to our quiet period, we're unable to respond to further specific queries," the spokesperson added.
The airline management, which had previously deferred its quarterly results stating it needed more time to finalise accounts, today informed exchanges that its board will meet on August 27 to consider June quarter earnings.