It has been a rough year for India’s Jet Airways, and the prognosis for the airline’s future has just got bleaker. Five A330s destined for Jet Airways have quietly disappeared from the Airbus order book, as the manufacturer cancelled the airline’s remaining order. It’s another blow for the crippled Indian airline that once had big ambitions.
Just when Airbus cancelled the A330s order is not known, but aviation consultancy FlightGlobal looked at the manufacturer’s backlog data and noted the disappearance. It comes not long after it was reported on this site that Boeing was rumoured to have cancelled an order for 210 aircraft destined for Jet Airways.
Will someone save Jet Airways?
Just a year or two ago, the Mumbai based airline was one of the go-to airlines for visitors flying around the subcontinent. Two years ago, Jet Airways was India’s second biggest airline. It flew to 36 cities around India and international destinations across the northern hemisphere
Now, it’s grounded in a financial quagmire of unpaid leases, fuel bills, and staff wages.
But is it too early to write off Jet Airways? Reports suggest that staff have considered trying to restart the airline. Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani and Etihad have also been floated as potential saviours.
Etihad, which has a record of bad airline investments, bought a 24% stake in Jet Airways in 2013 for $370m. Rather than writing this off, it has been suggested that Etihad increase their stake to 49% for a bargain price. However, given Etihad’s own financial issues, this appears unlikely to happen.
In fact, the news for Jet Airways keeps getting worse. Despite efforts to refinance and pay staff outstanding wages, the airline is losing their aircraft at a rapid rate.
Low cost Malaysian carrier Air Asia is reportedly interested in taking some 737s off Jet Airways hands. Simple Flying also reporting recently that Vistara will take 16 aircraft, including 10 Boeing 777s.
Since flights were grounded in April 2019, there has been a steady stream of Jet Airways aircraft being returned to their lessors. Aviation forum livefromalounge reports that over 30 aircraft were deregistered and returned to their owners in the weeks following the April grounding.
Airbus didn’t have a great month in April 2019 with its order book shrinking. The cancellation of the Jet Airways A330 order certainly would not have helped the mood at Toulouse. But, like Boeing, it knows when to cut its losses.
At this point in time, Jet Airways’ demise seems almost inevitable. It’s a shame we won’t see the Mumbai based airline winging its way around the globe again. But perhaps the next contender to step up in the booming Indian aviation market will take on board the lessons learnt from the failure of Jet Airways.