Jet Airways (9W, Mumbai Int'l) has plunged deeper into a liquidity crisis with nearly eighty aircraft grounded, at least two long-haul routes cancelled, and pilots warning to stop working on April 1 unless they receive their overdue salaries.

Times News Network has reported that as of March 19, 2019, only forty-one aircraft out of Jet's and JetLite's 115-strong fleet were active. The number is subject to dynamic changes as lessors ground further aircraft for non-payments almost daily. According to ch-aviation's analysis of FlightRadar24 ADS-B data, Jet Airways and JetLite combined currently operate forty-seven aircraft including two A330-200s, four A330-300s, six ATR72-500s, three B737-700, twenty-four B737-800s, and eight B777-300(ER)s.

Coping with the groundings, Jet Airways trimmed down its network to about 140 daily departures, down from around 600 planned during the carrier's heyday. The airline has also started to cut down its long-haul network as it will stop flying from Mumbai Int'l to Manchester Int'l and Hong Kong Int'l, as well as from Delhi Int'l to Hong Kong as of March 23.

Reuters has reported that responding to the worsening situation, the Indian government has approached state-owned banks to rescue the airline from the looming bankruptcy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reportedly striving to avoid such a crisis in the run-up to the April parliamentary elections.

If the carrier is forced into bankruptcy, there will be relatively few assets available for sale besides airport slots. Jet Airways owns sixteen of its aircraft, including ten B777-300(ER)s, three A330-200s, two B737-800s, and one B737-900.

The government is hoping that the group of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) and the Punjab National Bank (PNB), together with 49%-state-owned National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), will be able to save the airline through a debt-for-equity swap.

The involvement of the banks and the NIIF would lead to the state indirectly taking at least a third of the airline's shares. It will be a way to sidestep Etihad Airways, which currently owns a 24% stake and was a party to the preliminary rescue plan but has since hesitated and been unwilling to invest any additional funds in Jet Airways. The Emirati carrier is also reportedly willing to sell its stake at over 30% discount compared with Jet's current stock price.

The state-owned entities would only hold a stake in the airline until a new investor is found, sources within the government said.

Jet Airways' debt exceeds INR82 billion rupees (USD1.2 billion).