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Air India chairman writes to SBI, shows interest in operating grounded Jet Boeings

The national carrier is looking at leasing five of the grounded carrier Jet Airways Boeing 777s and operate them to London, Dubai and Singapore.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 18, 2019 9:45:59 pm
Jet Airways, Jet Airways crisis, Air India, Ashwani Loahni, Jet Airways flights suspension, Jet Airways debt crisis, Jet Airways flights, Jet employees, jet jobs, Jet Airways grounded, sbi, Indian express Jet Airways aircraft are seen parked on the tarmac at Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
(Express Photo by Pradip Das)

Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani Thursday wrote to the State Bank of India showing interest in operating five grounded Boeing 777s of Jet Airways.

The national carrier is looking at leasing five of the grounded carrier Jet Airways Boeing 777s and operate them to London, Dubai and Singapore, news agency PTI reported.

“We are exploring the possibility of operating five of the grounded B777s on the established routes, hitherto operated by Jet Airways,” Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani wrote to SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar on April 17.

Jet Airways, once India’s largest private airline, Wednesday had decided to temporarily suspend operations as a consortium of lenders refused to consider extending emergency funding of Rs 983 crore to keep the airline flying.

The airline’s shares also plummeted over 30 per cent in early trade hours today.

Lohani in his letter said that the grounding of Jet, which is now under the management control of SBI-led consortium of leaders, has caused great inconvenience to the travelling public. “In tune with to our role and responsibilities as the national carrier, we would be happy to alleviate this inconvenience by considering the possibility of operating a few B777s,” he said.

The debt-ridden airlines own 10 wide-body Boeing 777-300 ER planes, along with a few Airbus A330s, which are used to operate on medium and long-haul international destinations such as London, Amsterdam and Paris connecting New Delhi and Mumbai.

The closure of the airline’s operations has rendered around 16,500-plus employees including hundreds of pilots, who were not being paid salaries for several months, virtually jobless.

Meanwhile, Bombay High Court refused to intervene in the Jet Airways crisis, saying it cannot direct the government and the Reserve Bank of India to rescue a “sick company”.

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