February 27, 2019 / 2:28 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-India's Jet Airways grounds 7 more planes as it fails to pay lessors

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Feb 27 (Reuters) - India’s Jet Airways Ltd said on Wednesday it grounded seven more aircraft as the carrier failed to make payments to its lessors, taking the tally of planes hamstrung by the defaults to 13.

Jet is "actively engaged" with all its aircraft lessors, the airline said bit.ly/2T0UjWZ, adding that its aircraft lessors have been supportive of the company's efforts to improve liquidity.

With debts of more than $1 billion, Jet has defaulted on loans and has not paid pilots, leasing firms and suppliers for months.

The loss-making Indian airline approved a rescue deal in mid-February after months of talks to plug an 85 billion rupee ($1.2 billion) funding hole.

The plan, which has also been approved by Jet shareholders, includes selling a majority stake to a consortium led by State Bank of India, the airline’s biggest creditor, at 1 rupee.

Reuters had previously reported that international lessors had grounded more Jet Airways planes before potentially moving them out of India, as scepticism built over whether the bailout of the carrier can clear their dues on time.

On Saturday, the airline revealed bit.ly/2BWaZnV it had grounded two more aircraft in addition to the four earlier this month over default to its lessors.

Jet has a fleet of about 123 mainly Boeing planes, including 16-owned aircraft. The rest are leased from a range of lessors including GE Capital Aviation Services, U.S.-based BBAM and Japan’s SMBC Aviation Capital, sources have said. (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel, editing by Louise Heavens)

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