Jet Airways cancels all long-haul international flights

Posted at 6:33 AM, Apr 12, 2019

India's government said it will investigate Jet Airways' ability to fly after the struggling airline canceled several international flights.

All of Jet's long-haul services — including to London, Paris and Amsterdam — were suspended from Thursday night until Friday morning, a spokesperson for the airline in New Delhi said.

The spokesperson added on Friday that flights had resumed, but at least one major destination appeared to still be off the roster.

"Jet Airways has cancelled its operations between London and India for 12th April, 2019," the airline's UK office said in statement.

Doubts over the future of the airline intensified when aviation minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted that his ministry would "review issues related to Jet Airways" and "take necessary steps to minimize passenger inconvenience and ensure their safety."

Concerns over a possible collapse would tarnish Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pro-business credentials as Indians vote in elections that started on Thursday. The failure of a major airline would put thousands of jobs at risk.

Jet Airways has already canceled thousands of domestic and international flights as planes were grounded over the non-payment of fees to aircraft leasing companies. It told the Bombay Stock Exchange Thursday that it had grounded 10 more planes due to unpaid dues.

Last month the founder of Jet Airways was forced to quit as part of a government-backed bailout. Naresh Goyal stepped down as chairman and resigned from the board, allowing banks to take control and overhaul the company.

India's largest public bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), has been leading the consortium of creditors, which started the stake sale process on Monday. Several airlines, including Etihad, are interested in bidding according to reports.

Etihad already owns a 24% stake in Jet Airways. A spokesperson for the UAE-based airline declined to comment on the bidding process.

India is the fastest-growing aviation market in the world but competition is fierce. Airlines struggle to make money given the intense pressure on fares. Rising oil prices and a volatile Indian currency have made life even harder.

Jet Airways has racked up huge losses and exhausted the patience of its creditors. Profits at market leader IndiGo have also suffered and the government was forced to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the national carrier, Air India, after a failed privatization attempt early last year.