In an exciting turn, Jet Airways is offering its planes to fly repatriation missions for India. The airline, in a statement, said that it could provide two 777-300ERs for the flights, and up to four aircraft in total. Additionally, Jet Airways also clarified its current fleet size in an effort to gain approval to restart operations.
Where is Jet Airways now?
Jet Airways discontinued operations in April last year and has since entered bankruptcy circumstances. The airline has also been looking for investors to possibly protect the airline, although most big names have stayed away. Most of the carrier’s fleet has been repossessed by owners, leaving the airline with a mere 12 aircrafts, as approved in the statement.
Currently, Jet Airways’ fleet consists of three 737s, three A330s, and six 777s. Of this, Jet believes it can provide two 777s for repatriation flights “within a reasonable period,” and perhaps even four. Jet Airways was one of the few airlines with a widebody fleet in India, the other being Air India and, most recently, Vistara.
Can Jet Airways’ 777s still fly?
As discussed earlier, Jet’s entire fleet has been grounded since last year. This has meant no movement in the air either on the ground and no maintenance checks on the aircraft for over a year. While airlines around the world have restricted their fleets from flying, they still carry out regular checks or even operate flights without passengers to keep the planes airworthy.
Before the jets can fly again, Jet faces several obstacles. The government will need to reactivate Jet’s Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) as well as allow it to carry out the necessary maintenance checks. All of this might be difficult, acknowledging the airline’s mountain of debt and loans owed to its creditors.
Even if the government does permit Jet, it is still to observed if its planes are still airworthy after consuming over a year on the ground. Without the needed checks, it is likely that the aircraft is not practical and require heavy maintenance, which could require the airline millions.
A marketing stunt?
While Jet’s suggestion to help out with the repatriation flights is a remarkable one, it seems highly unlikely considering the hurdles involved. The move may be a retailing impact, meant to put the airline in the news and lure new investors. If the marketing stunt works, Jet could see its AOC renewed and have permission to start flying again. Even if it fails, Jet has still made a sensation in the news and evoked everyone of its existence.