The consortium attempting to conclude the acquisition of Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International) was back in court this week, launching an appeal against an order instructing the defunct carrier's monitoring committee to sell three aircraft.

The matter, formally titled the Consortium of Murari Lal Jalan & Florian Fritsch vs. Ace Aviation VII Ltd. & Ors (Comp. App. (AT) (Ins) No. 1517 of 2023), was listed at the Chairpersons Court at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on December 7, 2023. Ace Aviation IX Ltd, Ace Aviation X Ltd, the State Bank of India, JC Flower Asset Reconstruction Pvt Ltd, Punjab National Bank, and Ashish Chhawchharia were all named as respondents alongside Ace Aviation VII Ltd.

The dispute relates to a 2022 agreement between Malta-based special purpose vehicle Ace Aviation and the monitoring committee, in which Ace has responded to a solicitation from the committee to buy three B777-300ER. Ace submitted a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase the planes, which the monitoring committee accepted. However, in November 2022, the committee deferred the sale because of ongoing disagreements with the Jalan Kalrock Consortium (JKC), the entity trying to complete the purchase of Jet Airways.

Ace Aviation, owned by Challenge Airlines BE (X7, Liège), has since attempted to enforce the LOI, and approached the appellate court in August 2023 after the Delhi bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) rejected an application to purchase the planes in July. However, the NCLT declined to approve the transaction until the airline's ownership change was finalised.

However, with JKC shortly after meeting several of its financial obligations to creditors per a 2021 NCLT-approved resolution plan, Ace headed back to court arguing that the JKC payments triggered the ownership change and that the court should rehear the case. In late October, the Mumbai bench of the NCLT ordered that the monitoring committee honour its agreement with Ace Aviation.

The monitoring committee is broadly supportive of selling the aircraft, but JKC opposes it. JKC's counsel told the tribunal that the sale of any assets should be started afresh only after the dispute concerning the effective date between the JKC and the committee of creditors is reconciled.

This week, Pooja Mahajan, appearing for the consortium, initiated their appeal with it briefly mentioned in court. However, citing a lack of time on the day, the three panel appellate tribunal subsequently adjourned the matter until December 12.