Grounded Indian carrier Jet Airways is facing yet another loss this week, as Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport gives its slots away to Dutch carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. KLM will now increase service to Mumbai and add connections to Bengaluru three times a week, from October 2019.
As Jet Airways waves goodbye to yet another tranche of valuable airport slots, one has to wonder, what’s left for the ailing Indian airline? With aircraft sent back to lessors, routes being taken over by competitors and airports farming their slots out, isn’t it about time Jet Airways threw in the towel?
Dutch airline KLM have reportedly taken over airport slots previously operated by Jet Airways. The slots, based at the busy Schiphol Airport, have been going unused since the Indian carrier stopped flying in March this year.
Previously Jet Airways operated four daily flights from Amsterdam Schiphol. Three went to India, arriving at Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, and one to Toronto in Canada.
The KLM flights are planned to start from October onwards, with the Dutch carrier adding three flights per week to Bengaluru and a daily flight to Mumbai. This will complement its current offerings of three times a week to Mumbai and a daily flight to Delhi. Business Standard report KLM as saying:
“The thrice-weekly connection from Bengaluru will open up more opportunities for travel from India with easy connections to Europe and North America via the convenient hub of Amsterdam Schiphol,”
According to Flight Global, these routes will be operated by a Boeing 787-9, configured with 30 business class seats, 45 economy plus seats and 219 economy class seats.
Jet Airways previously codeshared with KLM as well as Delta to offer one-stop codeshare flights between India and 30 European destinations as well as 11 destinations in the US.
The final nail in the coffin of Jet Airways?
The hope of reviving the grounded airline is becoming slimmer by the day. The SBI, a consortium of lenders who now have control of the airline, have so far failed to find any investor for Jet. With slots taken back, aircraft repossessed and no interest from Etihad in increasing their shareholding, it’s only a matter of time before lenders file for bankruptcy… in fact, some already have.
According to LiveMint, a Dutch court has ordered bankruptcy proceedings against Jet Airways, scuppering plans in from the domestic lenders to take control of six aircraft they owned. According to reports, the State Bank of India was in the process of taking over a $30m loan owned by US Exim Bank, which the six Boeing planes were put up as collateral for.
The report said that an unnamed source had stated:
“The lenders expected to recover at least $200 million of Jet’s unpaid loans by acquiring the aircraft, each roughly valued between $40 million and $60 million and selling them to a third party if Jet fails to revive,”
But, unfortunately for them, Worldwide Flight Services have put a stop to the proceedings. The cargo handler approached a court in the Netherlands to retrieve a Boeing 777 belonging to Jet which had been parked in a hangar at Schiphol for some time. The Dutch court ruled in favor of the cargo handler and has asked local authorities to retrieve the aircraft for them.
It seems only a matter of time before the wider creditors of Jet Airways demand bankruptcy be declared, finally ending things for the troubled carrier.