MUMBAI: The National Company Law Tribunal on Wednesday once again directed the regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the aviation ministry to give clarity on the available Jet Airways slots.
Airport slots, the permit for arrival and departure at an airport, play an important role for potential bidders to value the grounded airline.
After Jet Airways went bust in mid-April, government temporarily allotted the hundreds of slots owned by Jet to other carriers, with an apparent bid to contain soaring airfares in the peak holiday season. The slots were first allotted to other airlines (mostly Spicejet) for three months, which was extended to December-end.
The counsel of the grounded airline said the lack of clarity on the slots has resulted in a ‘chicken and egg’ situation for the South America’s Synergy Group which is the sole company shown interest in the airline.
Synergy Group sought more clarity on slots before submitting a resolution plan. The last date for submitting a resolution plan is December 16.
On previous occasions, too, NCLT had sought details of Jet Airways slots. The DGCA had initially sought two weeks to provide clarity on the slots available but has not done so even after months.
The tribunal comprising Bhaskara Pantula Mohan and Rajesh Sharma, asked senior officials from the ministry and DGCA to depute responsible officials for the next hearing on December 17.
On November 18, NCLT had directed Synergy Group to make a representation before December 3, if it wanted to make a serious bid for Jet. This came after Synergy sought more time to place its bid.
Ashish Chhawchharia, the RP, sought to include DGCA and ministry as parties to the ongoing resolution process.
“Synergy Group, which owns several airlines in South America is conducting due diligence and they are the only serious bidder, and are constantly in touch with us and seeking more time to evaluate their options,” Chhawchharia had informed the tribunal.
Since the schedule for winter slots were gone and slots for the summer season to be declared on January 15, NCLT had asked the authorities to provide clarity on slots.
The lenders, who had been owning the airline since March 25 with 51 percent stake, had on June 17 sent the airline for bankruptcy, and could not find a buyer so far.
The airline owes over Rs 8,500 crore to a consortium of 26 banks led by State Bank, and over Rs 13,000 crore to the tens of hundreds of vendors and around 23,000-odd employees.
Source- Economic Times.