Even though four of Jet Airways’ aircraft have been grounded, it is unlikely that the airline’s flight schedule will be impacted on a large scale unless more groundings happen. The Mumbai-based full-service carrier has a fleet of 123 aircraft.
However, with the groundings, Jet Airways’ financial troubles have started translating into operational concerns as lessors want to take back possession of their planes due to payment delays. This led to cancellation of as many as 19 Jet flights to and from four airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai — on Tuesday. The passengers booked for the cancelled flights, as per rules, are either offered accommodation in other flights, or full refunds.
A key impact of mass cancellations and schedule disruptions due to any reason, is seen in a spike in fares. However, since Jet’s flight cancellations are limited and scattered in distribution so far, the fares have not jumped significantly.
On Wednesday while some of the flights cancelled on Tuesday resumed operations, sources said this was because of unforeseen cancellations at some other airports due to weather conditions that freed up aircraft capacity for Jet Airways.
In prior cases in India as well as overseas, where airlines went into a tailspin due to liquidity crunch, the downfall began with non-operational aircraft and flight cancellations.
Upon delay in payment of dues, the aircraft leasing companies, from which airlines rent the planes repossess their equipment — and the first step towards that is to keep the aircraft on the ground. As was with previous incidences of airline turnarounds, Jet’s chance of survival rests on its promoters’ ability to raise fresh funds for the airline.