Jet Airways has been facing turbulence since the beginning of this year, having reported a massive loss of over ₹1,000 crore in March quarter. Photo: Mint
Mumbai: Beleaguered Jet Airways is in an advanced stage of discussions with TruJet to sub-lease up to seven of its ATR planes to the regional airline as it seeks to reduce costs and mop up additional revenues, according to an industry source.
These planes are likely to be sub-leased with complete crew, maintenance and insurance. Currently, the Naresh Goyal-promoted full service carrier has 15 ATRs in its fleet.
TruJet, which started operations in July 2015 has an all ATR fleet. The deal may be stitched this month, the source privy to the development said.
ALSO READ: Jet Airways to announce Q1 results on 27 August
Jet Airways had attempted to phase out these regional jets in the past as well. “Both Jet Airways and TruJet are in an advanced stage of negotiations on the ATR deal. As per the on-going discussions, TruJet will initially lease seven ATRs from Jet Airways,” the source told PTI.
While TruJet confirmed it is in discussions with Jet Airways, the latter said that “it continues to evaluate all possible alternatives”.
Partially-owned by Gulf carrier Etihad, Jet Airways has been facing turbulence since the beginning of this year, having reported a massive loss of over ₹1,000 crore in March quarter.
ALSO READ: Blackstone group in talks to pick up stake in Jet Airways’s loyalty programme
The source said that the sub-lease period was likely to be for five years under a wet lease arrangement. “If the deal gets through, TruJet could opt for more such planes from the airline,” the source added.
A wet lease is an arrangement under which one airline provides an aircraft, its complete crew, maintenance and insurance. “We are working on options to induct up to seven aircraft for short period from Jet Airways,” a TruJet spokesperson said in a statement to PTI.
The Hyderabad-based airline had last month said it plans to acquire five to seven ATRs and expand the network to 20 more routes by the end of FY19. The carrier currently has five ATR-72s and connects 14 destinations including some under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
“Jet Airways continues to evaluate all possible alternatives to ensure optimum utilisation of its fleet,” a Jet Airways spokesperson told PTI.
“Owing to our quiet period, were unable to respond to further specific queries,” the spokesperson added.
The airline management, which had previously deferred its quarterly results stating it needed more time to finalise accounts, on Friday informed exchanges that its board would meet on 27 August to consider June quarter earnings.
“The company continues to evaluate all possible alternatives to ensure optimum utilisation of its fleet and is committed to make appropriate disclosures…,” the airline said in a filing to the BSE. The filing was in response to a clarification sought by the exchange about reports that Jet Airways was in talks with TruJet for sub-leasing ATR aircraft.