India’s Jet Airways holds crisis meeting after lenders reject fund injection

Debt-laden Jet Airways’ operations is down to seven planes flying domestic routes. Above, a grounded pilot awaits news of the lenders’ meeting on Monday, April 14, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019
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India’s Jet Airways holds crisis meeting after lenders reject fund injection

  • Thousands of passengers have been stranded in recent weeks after the airline canceled international flights because it cannot pay its bills
  • Lenders met for several hours on Monday but failed to agree on how to proceed

MUMBAI: The board of stricken Indian airline Jet Airways could suspend all operations Tuesday after lenders refused to release emergency funds to keep the debt-laden carrier flying, media reports said.
An emergency board meeting was called for Tuesday after the latest blow to the beleaguered company.
Thousands of passengers have been stranded in recent weeks after the airline, which has debts of more than $1 billion, canceled international flights because it cannot pay its bills.
Chief Executive Vinay Dube called the board meeting after lenders led by the State Bank of India failed on Monday to agree to give needed emergency cash.
“The management will seek guidance from the board on the next steps forward,” Dube said in an email to staff late Monday as he announced that the cancelation of international flights was being extended to Thursday.
Indian dailies said suspending all operations was one option open to the board though this could mean Jet would lose its operating license.
Business Standard quoted sources saying the airline had only enough fuel to keep its seven remaining jets running until Tuesday afternoon.
An official from the National Aviation Guild, the union for Jet pilots, said: “The airline is flying seven planes right now. The minimum number to keep its scheduled operations license.”
Jet has been in a tailspin for months. Its fleet has been cut from about 120 in December. It has defaulted on loans and most staff have not been paid for many months.
A consortium of lenders took control of Jet last month, pledging to give $218 million of “immediate funding support” as part of a debt resolution plan.
The lenders met for several hours on Monday but failed to agree on how to proceed.
Later the State Bank of India released a statement saying that the banks were trying to help Jet.
“Cooperation by and support from all the other stakeholders will be the key to the success of the process,” it added.
The SBI-led consortium is trying to find a buyer for Jet, which was until recently India’s second-biggest airline by market share.
A deadline passed Friday for prospective bidders to express an interest in acquiring a 75 percent stake in the carrier.
Etihad Airways, which owns a 24 percent stake, has reportedly submitted an expression of interest to buy a controlling stake.
The SBI was expected to announce a shortlist of prospective bidders later on Tuesday. They would then have until April 30 to submit formal bids.
A collapse of Jet would deal a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-business reputation as he seeks a second term in ongoing national elections.


Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

Updated 17 June 2019
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Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

CAIRO: Egypt says it has struck a deal with the state-owned Israel Electric Corp. to settle a fine for halting deliveries of natural gas.
A statement from Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry said the settlement deal, which was signed Sunday, would reduce the $1.7 billion fine to $500 million.
It says Egypt will pay the amount over eight and a half years.
In return, the Israeli company would drop other claims resulting from a 2015 arbitration decision.
Israel Electric had sued the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas after a 2005 deal to export natural gas to Israel collapsed in 2012 amid militant attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, where Egypt has been battling insurgency for years.
Israel relied on the pipeline to meet its energy needs.