What Will Jet Airways Bidders Actually Receive?

Nearly a year after grounding all flights, Jet Airways is back in the news. With new bids for the airline emerging and the deadline for more approaching fast, it might be interesting to see what a new Jet Airways owner might get.

Jet Airways Airbus A330-300 VT-JWU
Widebodies like the A330 are some of the few remaining planes in Jet’s fleet. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

A small fleet

As things stand, Jet Airways has a fleet of just 12 aircraft. The fleet consists of six 777s, three A330s, and three 737s. The small fleet means that any new owner would need to take make some key decisions. One would be to decide whether to expand the fleet to fly to Jet’s many international destinations or focus on short-haul routes. No matter what the choice, new fleet investments need to be made if they want to restart scheduled operations.

The last ten months has seen Jet’s mostly-leased fleet being repossessed and leased out to airlines all over the world. The grounding of the 737 MAX caused a surge in demand for Jet’s many narrowbody aircraft. This demand saw a large part of Jet’s fleet quickly leased out to domestic carriers like SpiceJet and Vistara in India and even carriers like LOT Polish and GOL. Any new owner will have to lease new aircraft in order to jump-start operations, which is going to require some investment.

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Slots and strategic interests

Jet Airways’ most valuable asset is still the slots it holds in India and all over the world. At the time of grounding, Jet had slots at London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In addition to this, Jet also held key slots in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad airport.

However, since its grounding Jet has lost many of these slots, including its Heathrow slot which it returned to Etihad, and Schiphol which was suspended (their 777 is also impounded there). Jet also had many bilateral agreements with airlines like KLM, which could become viable once again.

This loss of international slots has led many to question what’s left of Jet Airways. However, Jet’s domestic slots are still intact since they’ve only been given on temporary lease till October of this year and a new owner could retake these slots to start operations. The grounding of Jet Airways has also left early 33% of its prior slots empty, meaning there is scope to recapture the market.

A solid brand reputation and loyal staff

For a long time, Jet Airways was synonymous with comfortable, international travel. These values were reflected by its loyal staff of over 16,000 who had a reputation as hospitable. Many of its employees continued working without pay with relatively minimal disruption.

Jet Airways operated on many sectors where its only competition was state-run Air India (which is also up for bids now) and offered a much better product and service. The airline also attracted many frequent, high-revenue businesses who were willing to shell out for a better product, as evidenced by their near 200,000 Platinum members (which requires at least 60 flights a year).

With this kind of a solid brand reputation, bidders could be snagging a chance to enter into the aviation sector as veterans and not rookies, capitalizing on people’s perception of the brand. This might just be Jet’s most valuable asset.

Jet Airways Heathrow 777
Jet Airways held lucrative slots at airports like Heathrow and Schiphol. Photo: Aero Lucas via Flickr

The slope is steep for a Jet Airways revival, but the past ten months has shown a void in the Indian market, one which could be filled by a resurgent Jet. However will debt in the billions, the airline need nothing short of a miracle to return.

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S j kaul

Sie everything has been covered but the vicitims whose bookings were cancelled and refunds not received is there any solution provided if the deal goes through

S j kaul

How the victim flyers whose flights were cancelled by jet airways being compensated as the refunds r awaited n there is no discussion on this pending liability of jet

Ckirani

Hope jet airways once again gers its wings n we see ray of hope for we staffs parents who are jobless n moneyless.

Sanjay

What about the tickets purchased but not reimbursed to the traveller’s. The airline shut down operations all of a sudden without refunding all the traveller’s who booked tickets from jet online website.

Raj narayan kansara

Jet airways is a great name in aviation industry not only in India but all over world. This is due to better services of jet as well as hospitality of its staff. We wish early restart of it. Many investors are eager to take command, but due to various hurdles… Read more »

High Mile Club

First thing I would do to Jet Airways if acquired is to rename it something else. I mean, the name “Jet Airways” in general sounds redundant when you think about it, and it’s quite basic. I’m pretty sure there a bunch of names that could be used to reference its… Read more »

Manoj Shukla

Jet Airways will definitely come back and make the lead.

Ng Fook Meng

Buying Jet has many fatal similarities as Jet buying Air Sahara. Would be much easier to start a new airline from scratch without having to adapt/adopt
the remnants of Jet.

Ng Fook Meng

Buying Jet has many fatal similarities as Jet buying Air Sahara. Would be much easier to start a new airline from scratch without having to adapt/adopt to
the remnants of Jet.

Jason Unsworth

Brilliant article!

Smitha

Hoping that the bid goes fast as I long to get my refund of the tickets We purchased in 2018 to fly in June 2019! Please refund my money