The new owners of Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai Int'l) hope to resume scheduled domestic operations within four to six months once the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approves their resolution plan which provides for a fleet of around 25 aircraft.

The NCLT rejected the last procedural challenge from unions, which had demanded they be consulted on the resolution plan, on February 22. This paved the way for the commencement of substantive hearings on February 23. The airline's new owners, UK-based Kalrock Capital and UAE-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan, secured creditor approval in October 2020.

In an interview with the Economic Times, Murari Lal Jalan said that as soon as the NCLT concludes the hearings and approves the plan, the new owners will set out to revive the airline. While Jet Airways will continue as a full-service carrier, Jalan underlined that it would adopt more modern technologies and amenities, with a heavy focus on digital sales and products.

"In the beginning, we are trying to bring 25 aircraft. Of this, 18-20 would be narrowbody aircraft and 5-7 would be widebody aircraft. We are already in discussion with the manufacturers," he said.

He underlined that this number does not include aircraft previously operated by Jet Airways. According to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module, the airline continues to own one A330-200, two B737-800s, one B737-900, and five B777-300(ER)s. On the issue of the B777s, Jalan said Jet Airways would inspect them following the NCLT's approval to see if they can be reinducted into the revived airline.

"At the moment, we are planning to start with the new aircraft. If the existing aircraft can be used, we definitely would like to use it in the later stage," he said.

Although Jet Airways will initially focus on domestic routes, Jalan said he hoped to secure the necessary permits for the resumption of international services by the end of 2021. He added that Jet Airways was "not concerned about the slots", although he did not clarify whether the airline would regain its old slots or have to apply anew. The unclear slot ownership status was one of the major stumbling blocs for Jet's sale in 2019 and most of 2020.

"We have already had preliminary discussions and we are sure we will get the slots we need... We cannot apply until the NCLT clears. We are waiting for the NCLT to clear and then we will do whatever is required to do," he said.

Jalan added that the carrier was fully funded for its restart and the first year or more of its operations, and would not need any near-term additional capital injections from the banks.

Jet Airways has been grounded since April 2019.