Debt-Ridden Jet Airways Stops Forward Bookings For Some of its International Sectors

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New Delhi:  Debt-ridden Jet Airways has stopped forward bookings for some of its international sectors, including those for east Asia. Currently the airline has suspended international operations till April 15.

Accordingly, the company has informed the country’s aviation regulator that it has stopped taking forward bookings for its flights to SAARC and ASEAN destinations including Colombo, Kathmandu, Singapore, and Hong Kong till further notice.

However, sources said, the airline is hopeful of re-starting its London-bound services after April 15, as the flight sees healthy load factor. Other European routes like Amsterdam and Paris are also expected to be restarted.

“They have informed the DGCA about suspension of forward-bookings for SAARC and ASEAN routes. For now, there is no certainty about when the forward bookings for these sectors will be re-started, since everything is dependent on capital infusion, which is stuck with the consortium of lenders,” an airline insider told IANS in Mumbai.

“The high summer season demand for sectors in Europe especially for London is a major factor that is expected to push the airline to restart the London route from April 15.”

At present, the airline is operating only 7 aircraft for domestic operations due to grounding of over 80 per cent of its fleet by lessors, which has resulted in the cancellation of several hundred daily flights, inconveniencing scores of passengers at various airports.

The airline’s unpaid employees are upset too; they have taken out silent marches in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Other employees, like National Aviators Guild (NAG) Vice-President Captain Asim Valiani told IANS in Mumbai: “The airline is running out of time, with no funds and a truncated schedule, Jet is losing its true financial value.”

“We want the banks to stick to their promise and infuse funds immediately. Only with fresh funds will you get any interest from new buyers””

On Friday, the cash-strapped airline suspended its international operations till the weekend after further reduction in its fleet size.

The airline has also cancelled domestic flights, leaving passengers stranded at various airports. This led the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to assess Jet Airways’ financial situation.

Jet Airways is expected to approach lenders on Monday for interim funding.

 

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