Even as Jet Airways operations get curtailed, taking it close to a shutdown, bidding for the airline is gathering steam.
While Etihad Airways, sources said, has submitted expression of interest and intends to bid for 49 percent stake, former Chairman Naresh Goyal is also expected to join the fray.
Jet now has just 12 aircraft flying, with the company stating that it has grounded 10 more planes.
The fleet now has two ATRs, 3 Boeing 737s, six Boeing 777, and one A 330 aircraft. Before the crisis began, the airline had a fleet of 119 aircraft.
The grounding has dented its operations.
While the company officials denied that it has suspended international operations, sources from the industry told Moneycontrol that overseas flights have been curtailed till Friday morning.
“The airline has suspended west bound international flights from Thursday night, till Friday morning,” said an executive from the industry. These includes flights to London and Amsterdam.
According to regulations, an airline needs to have a minimum fleet of 20 planes to operate international flights.
Domestically, another executive added, the airline may operate a much truncated flight schedule on Friday, and mostly from Mumbai. The exact number couldn’t be verified.
The fresh grounding and curtailed schedule are signs that the cash crunch in the airline has become severe. The airline was hoping on its lenders to transfer Rs 1,500 crore in emergency funding. But only about Rs 250 crore has come in.
Apart from Etihad and Naresh Goyal, a clutch of private equity players including TPG, and Air Canada are among the possible bidders.
Friday, April 12, is the last day to submit expression of interest.