London : Jet Airways has suspended 12 international flights even as it grapples with a reduced fleet strength, industry insiders said on Friday. Sources said the airline has suspended operations to Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Dammam, Singapore, Manchester and Dhaka, among others, till April 30.
In addition, the services from Bengaluru to Singapore, which it flies two times a day, is also suspended until April 30.
However, one service has been cancelled due to Pakistan airspace closure and not due to fleet truncation.
“Apart from suspensions, the airline has also reduced frequencies on some of the international routes. These suspensions and reduction in freqiuncies can be attributed to the fact that its fleet size has been trnucated,” sources said.
On March 19, aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said that Jet Airways has only 41 aircraft in its fleet for operations out of around 120 planes and that there may be further attrition in the fleet size and flights ahead.
It was also reported that passengers were stranded at Abu Dhabi airport and finding it difficult to return due to the sudden cancellation of flights by Jet Airways.
As per industry estimates, Jet has total debt of Rs 8,000 crore in addition to payables such as vendors’ dues worth Rs 15,000 crore.
The airline has also lost ground in terms of market share, even as its pilots and crew are said to be approaching other airlines for employment.
Meanwhile, a proposed infusion of Rs 1,000 crore into Jet Airways may prove to be “too little too late” to save the airline as it might require at least Rs 10,000 crore to stay afloat, industry observers said on Friday.
“The airline alone has estimated advance ticket sales of Rs 1,500-2,000 crore. There are total payables and debt of Rs 25,000 crore. Anything short of Rs 10,000 crore might not have a dent on the current situation that the airline is going through,” said an industry source.
“This (Rs 1,000 crore) amount is not enough even to clear salaries and refund passengers for cancelled tickets,” said another sectoral expert.
The industry reaction comes even as the airline’s case is being viewed by top government officials.
Sources say that prospects of 16,500 employees of the airline losing their jobs ahead of the general election might just push PSU banks to extend a lifeline till they find another investor