Jet Airways’ revival hits roadblock with former staff demanding INR 2.5bn
Lenders to bankrupt Jet Airways India Ltd. are resisting a court-approved resolution plan, further delaying the airline’s return to the skies, according to people familiar with the matter and email communications seen by Bloomberg News.
The primary dispute is about whether the new owners of Jet Airways need to pay more money into the pension funds of ex-employees, the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorised to speak publicly about the matter.
Banks, led by State Bank of India, say Jet Airways’ new buyers — Dubai-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan and Florian Fritsch, Chairman of London-based Kalrock Capital Management Ltd. — should pay an additional INR 2.5 billion (USD 30.1 million) into the retirement kitty, the people said, an ask supported by the email exchanges reviewed by Bloomberg.
The new owners meanwhile have indicated that extra money wasn’t part of the already agreed upon resolution plan and instead must be taken out of the banks’ dues, the people said. All parties are now awaiting fresh guidance from the bankruptcy court, the people said.
A representative for Jet Airways, which also represents the consortium led by Jalan and Fritsch, declined to comment. State Bank of India and Ashish Chhawchharia, the court-appointed professional running the carrier’s insolvency, didn’t immediately respond to messages and phone calls seeking comment.