As news of a new bidder hits the media, the deadline for Expression of Interest in Jet Airways has once again been extended. This news comes as a Russian state-owned fund, Far East Development Fund, is considering investing in the grounded airline.
The same old story or a game-changer?
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a possible bid for Jet. In fact, there has been a lot more noise than actual bidding for the airline. Among those interested in rescuing the airline is the London-based Hinduja Group, which has so far failed to formally bid even with multiple extensions, a mysterious Dubai based fund and the Synergy Group. All of these groups have been mulling a bid since 2019 but none have so far materialized a solid business plan, or have just requested more time and clarification.
Aside from these bidders, recently we’ve heard of a new possible bidder, the Russian state-owned Far East Development Fund. The fund has assets worth over $900m and is closely tied to the Russian government (Vladimir Putin once sat on the bank’s supervisory board). The fund could be the gamechanger that Jet Airways has been waiting for, one that is willing to invest in the debt-ridden airline and can jumpstart operations once again.
What will the new bidders get?
Jet Airways is now a husk of what it once was and it’s interesting to examine what a bidder would actually receive. It’s 100+ plane fleet reduced to just 12, as lessors quickly repossessed their planes and leased them out to carriers around the world. This means that asset-wise, Jet Airways doesn’t have much to offer.
However, strategically they still do have key slots in domestic airports and possibly some at busy international airports like Schiphol (there has been no clarity on the exact slots Jet still has).
However, it seems that the fund could be looking in a different direction. According to the Financial Express, it is rumored that the fund is hoping to bring together Aeroflot, the Russian flag carrier, and Jet Airways. This could mean that Jet Airways becomes a partner/subsidiary of Aeroflot, connecting more passengers through Moscow as a hub and possibly holding India as a second hub.
We are waiting to hear more about this possible deal and how Jet will benefit the airline. It is to be noted that Aeroflot has had a streak of successes in 2019 and could be looking to capitalize on that and to make the most of its new terminal in Moscow.
This new bid could be the one that Jet Airways has been waiting for and might be the one that rescues the airline. Sadly, as a private carrier, it does not benefit from the chance of the government wiping away its debt as it did for Air India. This means that a solid and serious bid is the only way we’ll get to see the Jet name in the sky once again.