Jet Airways (9W, Mumbai Int'l) has increased the number of aircraft grounded due to the non-payment of lease rates to a total of twenty-five units, The Financial Express has reported. The fleet shortage forces the airline to cancel as much as 200 flights a day, around a third of all scheduled flights.

On March 4, the airline admitted in a stock market filing that it had to ground up to twenty-five aircraft in the last month.

The first four aircraft were grounded on February 7. Two more were grounded on February 23. The airline grounded a further thirteen aircraft on February 27-28, then four more units on March 1-2, and finally a further two aircraft since then.

An unnamed senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official confirmed that the number of daily cancellations doubled from the already excessive level in December 2018.

ch-aviation schedule analysis revealed that the airline has recently suspended or cancelled at least 23 routes. While most of them are domestic services, international flights from Delhi Int'l to Dammam, Doha Hamad Int'l, and Riyadh have also been affected.

The airline continues to struggle to finance its operations under a mountain of debt totalling INR82 billion rupees (USD1.15 billion). Its total funding gap, as identified by the banks, amounts to INR85 billion rupees (USD1.2 billion).

Although a provisional rescue plan led by the State Bank of India (SBI) was approved by the airline's board in mid-February, it still has not been authorised by all shareholders. The plan entails a mix of capital infusion, debt restructuring, and aircraft refinancing and will eventually see the consortium of banks taking a 32% stake in the carrier, Etihad Airways increasing its stake to 24.9%, Abu Dhabi-backed National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) taking a 19.5% stake, with founder Naresh Goyal's stake dropping to 20%.

For the time being, Etihad Airways reportedly refused to inject any cash in the interim ahead of the formal approval of the rescue plan. The Emirati carrier will only finance Jet Airways once the plan has been fully implemented.

The airline recently borrowed a further INR2.25 billion rupees (USD32 million) from the SBI, pledging its deposits worth INR15 billion rupees (USD212 million) as a collateral. The carrier is reportedly earning higher interest on the deposits than the cost of the new loan, so it decided against using the existing cash. The airline will use the loan to finance its most pressing operational expenses to avoid further groundings.

At the end of February, Goyal told employees that the crisis should "gently ease" by March 18. He added that he was prepared to "do whatever it takes" to ensure the airline's survival and recovery, The Times of India has reported.

The Economic Times also reported in February that the airline is suspected of evading a INR6.5 billion rupee (USD92 million) tax bill due for intra-group transactions with a Dubai-based GSA, a subsidiary of Jet Airways. The Income Tax Department has not yet launched a formal investigation but said it would ask the carrier for clarification.