The former CEO of Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal, along with his wife have been forced off a flight out of India. Immigration officers swooped on their taxiing aircraft and detained the couple at Mumbai airport.
Goyal and wife Anita were deplaned from a London-bound Emirates flight mid taxi. The couple has since been banned from leaving India, according to reports.
This measure ensures that the Goyals, who founded Jet Airways 26 years ago, cannot flee the country. There is now mounting pressure on former CEO Goyal to face the consequences of what many see as his disastrous mismanagement of the private airline.
Jet Airways was, in 2017, the second-largest airline in India after IndiGo.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has seemingly stepped up efforts to deal out punitive measures to those involved in the airline’s downturn. Modi wants to, ‘get tough with large-scale debt defaulters that owe huge sums to state-owned banks,’ writes Stephanie Findlay for the Financial Times.
The Goyals were taken into custody at Mumbai’s international airport, reports Gulf News, but were later released.
We have contacted Jet Airways for further comment but have so far received no reply.
Former CEO Goyal and his wife reluctantly resigned from the board of directors in March when it became clear that the carrier’s collapse was inevitable. An interim panel was set up to handle its affairs in the wake of the resignations.
Since January of this year over 22,000 employees have not been paid. Some are still waiting for salaries due to them from the end of 2018.
Jet Airways was forced to cancel all of its operations on 17th April. This followed the rejection of its demand for a stop-gap loan of $217 million from lenders.
Mr Goyal’s mismanagement is considered by many to be the root cause of the airline’s woes. The CEO’s refusal to step down ultimately prevented investors from pumping money into the airline in time to prevent a collapse.
Goyal and his wife were forced to disembark their flight on Saturday (25/5/19). The Emirates flight had reached the runway and was about to take off when it was forced to turn back.
‘It began taxiing at 4.19 pm,’ an air traffic control officer told The Times of India. ‘But then, we received a call from immigration authorities asking us to call the aircraft back. They said there was an immigration issue.’
Mr Goyal and his wife were removed from the plane by immigration officers and ‘stopped from leaving India’.
According to Scroll.In, the president of the Jet Airways’ Officers and Staff Association Kiran Pawaskar had previously asked authorities if they would confiscate the passports of the former CEO and his wife.
Pawaskar had also asked that senior Jet Airways management staff be similarly prevented from leaving the country.
Emirates did not comment on reports of the deplaning of Goyal and his wife but issued a statement saying: ‘Emirates is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities and we abide by the laws of the various countries we operate in.’