The Kalrock-Jalan consortium, the would-be owners of Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International), is trying to prevent the sale of three B777-300ERs to a European cargo airline, the proceeds of which would be used to pay creditors still out of pocket from the Indian carrier's bankruptcy.

India's Business Standard reports that lawyers for the consortium appeared before a National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) hearing in Mumbai on April 20 in an effort to block the sale of the aircraft to a subsidiary of Malta-based ACE Aviation Holdings called Ace Aviation VIII Limited. That entity paid a USD4.6 million dollar deposit on the planes in 2H 2022 following Jet Airways' monitoring committee putting the planes up for auction. The transaction was scheduled to be finalised by mid-December but was placed on hold, causing the winning bidder to take the matter to the NCLT after the monitoring committee reportedly stopped returning calls on the matter.

Last week, Kalrock-Jalan's lawyers told the NCLT that they will file an intervening application opposing the sale. The consortium is attempting to wrap up the acquisition of Jet Airways and restart it after its closure in April 2019. At that time, Jet Airways was operating nine B777-300(ER)s among its broader fleet. Since then, three of the aircraft have been scrapped and another, VT-JEE (msn 35164), is at Mojave pending scrapping. However, five of the B777s remain in India, with three from that number due to Ace Aviation Holdings.

The NCLT says it will return to the matter during a May 10 hearing. Meanwhile, last week's hearing also revealed that the Kalrock-Jalan consortium has until May 14 to pay approximately INR2.5 billion Indian rupees (USD30.5 million dollars) to lenders and former employees after the NCLT set a 180 day deadline to do so in November. Disputes over payments and payment timelines have proved a long standing barrier to finalising the sale of Jet Airways.

In addition, the current Jet Airways air operator's certificate (AOC) expires in May. The airline successfully secured a one year permit from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation last year. While the consortium is not expected to face challenges having its AOC reissued, missing the May 19 deadline will require it to restart the certification process which will further delay any restart of the airline.