By Anwesha Ganguly
The deadline for submitting expression-of-interest (EoI) for Jet Airways may be extended till January 15 to give some more time to potential bidders. The Hinduja Group, which was earlier understood to be interested in investing in the beleaguered airline, has mailed the resolution professional (RP) expressing their intention to re-look at Jet Airways, banking sources said. The committee of creditors (CoC) for Jet Airways on Thursday also discussed a settlement deal with Dutch authorities for Jet’s assets stuck in Amsterdam.
“We have agreed to extend the deadline up to January 15. The RP has received a mail from the Hinduja Group,” one person aware of the development said. However, Ashish Chhawchharia, RP for Jet Airways, said he has not received any communication from the group. The Hinduja Group spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.
Last month, the CoC decided to call for fresh EoIs after the Colombian Synergy Group, which at the time was the only entity interested in reviving Jet Airways, did not give a concrete business plan after over four months of deliberations. The group had sought assurance from the government of Jet’s erstwhile slots in the London Heathrow Airport and the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The group has not yet submitted any EoI after they were invited on December 22, one source aware of the developments said.
Last year, the Hinduja Group was understood to be in talks with Jet’s strategic partner, Etihad Airways, before the Abu Dhabi-based airline backed out. Following this, State Bank of India (SBI) initiated insolvency proceedings against the grounded Jet Airways. Turbo Aviation, a Hyderabad-based entity, and another Dubai-based fund had also showed interest in December last year. Turbo Aviation, currently engaged in charter flights and aircraft maintenance services, is backed by a UK-based entity. However, bankers are not confident of any of these parties. “So far, there is nothing concrete has been received,” another person said.
The lenders have also been trying to thrash out issues to reach a settlement deal with Dutch authorities on the assets of Jet Airways which are stuck in Amsterdam. Dutch authorities had last year declared the grounded airline bankrupt following the seizure of Jet’s aircraft and a complaint was filed by two foreign operational creditors. The Dutch authorities have since been made a part of the Indian insolvency process.
The lenders have also been discussing the monetisation of Jet’s property in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai, but have not reached an agreement on the matter. HDFC had last year moved the insolvency tribunal seeking to keep the property out of the resolution process. The matter is pending before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). “A lot of issues came up with the sale of BKC property. One key issue is that there is still debate on whether the property forms a part of the corporate insolvency resolution process,” the source said.
Jet Airways was grounded in April last year and was admitted for insolvency in June, following multiple failed attempts to sell the airline. According to the latest data available on Jet’s websites, creditors have filed claims worth over Rs 36,000 crore with the airline, of which the RP has so far admitted claims worth over Rs 14,000 crore.