Today marks a year since Jet Airways – once a market leader in India with 22,000 employees – ceased operations.
After embarking on ambitious international expansion, and failing to appreciate the threat posed by India’s emerging low-cost airlines, Naresh Goyal’s airline crashed and burned on April 17, 2019.
Jet’s executives are famously said to have laughed when a team of aviation consultants warned them of the danger posed by IndiGo and its low-cost peers.
Goyal and his team were more concerned by rival full-service carrier Kingfisher Airlines (which also went bust) and spent INR 1,500 crore buying up Air Sahara to keep Kingfisher at bay.
In the end, Goyal was pushed out, but Jet was unable to service its huge mountains of debt, with no funds to pay fuel or employees.
Little hope of revival
With the crippling effect of coronavirus, there is barely a glimmer of hope that the Jet brand may one day be revived. At least 15 entities have expressed interest in doing so in the last 12 months, though there have been no firm bids.
Lenders are owed more than INR 7,227 crore, and a source close to the matter said there was now little prospect of a revival:
‘Jet may head for liquidation. Even those who have evinced interest are likely to back out due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global aviation industry. Existing airlines themselves are finding it difficult to survive. So, taking over a sick company will be all the more difficult.’
For the full story of Jet’s dramatic rise and fall, check out this article on Money Control.
There’s also a nice documentary by Business Today:
I have fond memories of flying Jet’s 777 between London and Mumbai in first class, and enjoying guntur mirchi murgh, washed down with the superb Bollinger Grande Annee 2002…
Main image: Rick Schlamp/Flickr
Do you miss Jet Airways?