April 17, 2019 / 3:20 PM / a month ago

Jet Airways: How the 'Joy of Flying' airline's dreams soured

(Reuters) - Beleaguered carrier Jet Airways halted all operations on Wednesday after its lenders rejected its plea for emergency funding from the airline that was once India’s largest private carrier.

FILE PHOTO: Jet Airways aircrafts are seen parked at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, India, March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

The airline, known for its “The Joy of Flying” tagline, has

been teetering for weeks, saddled with over $1 billion in debt.

Its lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), last month agreed to bail it out in a complex deal that involved the banks taking a majority stake and providing a fresh loan of $217 million, while continuing to look for a new investor. That loan never materialized, gradually crippling the 25-year old airline’s operations.

(Jet Airways 2019 stock performance - tmsnrt.rs/2VMoQVJ)

Here are some major developments in Jet’s story:

2018

Aug 3 – Jet denies media report it cannot fly beyond 60 days, dismisses rumors of stake sale

Aug 11 – State Bank of India (SBI) chairman says Jet’s loan is on watch list. Jet says regularly paying banks.

Aug 27 – Jet posts June-quarter loss, says will inject funds, cut costs by more than 20 billion rupees ($288 million) in two years

Sept 6 – Jet says paid salaries to 84 percent of its employees after media reports that pilots warned ‘non-cooperation’ over salary default

Nov 5 – Media report says Indian conglomerate Tata Group aims to buy 51 percent stake in airline and merge Jet with Tata’s Vistara

Dec 5 - Jet and UAE’s Etihad Airways have been holding rescue talks with Jet’s bankers, sources tell Reuters

2019

Jan 1 - Jet delays payment to a consortium of Indian banks, led by SBI

Jan 11 - Etihad not “in any position to sink new equity into Jet at this juncture”, says person familiar with Etihad’s position

Jan 17 - SBI says Jet’s lenders considering plan to resolve debt issues

Feb 8 - Airline grounds four aircraft after failing to make payments to lessors

For an interactive link on Jet's grounded planes, click tmsnrt.rs/2HTmgKl

Feb 14 - Jet’s board approves rescue deal, making its lenders its largest shareholders, to fix a near 85 billion rupee funding gap

March 19 - India’s government asks state-run banks to rescue Jet without pushing it into bankruptcy, sources say

March 25 - Founder Naresh Goyal steps down as chairman, wife Anita Goyal resigns from board. Lenders to pump in 15 billion rupees in immediate funding

March 30 - Jet CEO says airline will pay December salaries to employees

March 31 - Jet’s pilots’ union says will give carrier’s new management two weeks to clear unpaid salaries, defers plan to take strike action

April 3 - Jet forced to ground more than three-quarters of its fleet as it awaits bailout funds

April 11 - Jet grounds 10 more planes, fleet size at less than 20

April 12 - India’s aviation secretary says Jet has funds to stay afloat till April 15, TV channel reports

April 15 - Jet plans to extend suspension of international flights, does not get interim funds

April 16 - Jet will be forced to shut down as soon as Wednesday if it does not get emergency funding from its lenders, sources tell Reuters

Compiled by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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