Jet Airways founder and chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal resigned from the board of the crisis-hit airline on Monday. With this, Goyal ceases to be the chairman of the airline, which has been grappling with more than Rs 8,200 crore debt, unpaid salaries and a grounded fleet.
“Naresh Goyal and Anita Goyal, and one nominee of Etihad Airways PJSC have stepped down from the board,” Jet Airways said in an official press statement following a board meeting. The airline will also receive immediate funding of up to Rs 1,500 crore by lenders.
“No sacrifice is too big for me to safeguard the interest of Jet Airways,” said Goyal after stepping down as chairman of the airline.
A consortium of banks, led by State Bank of India, had asked several of the airline directors, including Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal to step down from the board. The banks are formulating a resolution plan for Jet Airways, which needs to make repayments worth up to Rs 1,700 crore by March-end.
Goyal holds 51 per cent stake while Gulf carrier Etihad Airways has 24 per cent shareholding in the airline.
At the meeting, it was also decided to set up an Interim Management Committee to manage and monitor the daily operations and cash flow of the company. “Bidding process to be initiated by lenders for sale/issue of shares to new investor(s), the process expected to be completed in June quarter,” the statement said.
In 2018, Etihad Airways reported a loss of $1.28 billion, the third straight year the government-owned carrier lost over a billion dollars. The government has indicated its resolve to save the airline and has, in fact, kicked off a process to bring in new investors.
Saddled with debt, Jet has postponed payments to banks, pilots and lessors. Aviation regulator DGCA has said that only 41 Jet Airways aircraft are currently available for operation, bringing down the fleet strength to less than half.
Late last week, Jet Airways’ pilots threatened to stop flying from April 1 if the airline did not come up with a rescue plan in place by March 31.