India’s Jet Airways suspends all operations

Jet Airways aircraft parked on the tarmac at Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. The Indian airline has grounded all of its operations after failing to secure emergency funding. (AFP)
Updated 17 April 2019
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India’s Jet Airways suspends all operations

  • Jet had asked a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India to urgently provide four billion rupees ($57.5 million) but said that this had not been forthcoming
  • The airline was once India’s second-biggest by market share but is on the brink of collapse with debts of more than $1 billion

MUMBAI: India’s debt-stricken Jet Airways grounded all of its operations Wednesday after failing to secure emergency funding from lenders, the carrier said in a statement.
“Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights. The last flight will operate today,” it said, adding that the decision would take “immediate effect.”
Jet had asked a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India to urgently provide four billion rupees ($57.5 million) but said that this had not been forthcoming.
“This has been a very difficult decision but without interim funding, the airline is simply unable to conduct flight operations in a manner that delivers to the very reasonable expectations of its guests, employees, partners and service providers,” it added.
The airline was once India’s second-biggest by market share but is on the brink of collapse with debts of more than $1 billion.
Jet was operating just five planes on Wednesday because it could not pay its bills, down from a fleet of more than 120 at its peak.
The carrier has canceled hundreds of flights in recent weeks, stranding thousands of passengers.
It has repeatedly defaulted on loans and failed to pay staff in recent months.
The consortium took control of Jet in March, pledging to give $218 million in “immediate funding support” as part of a debt resolution plan.
But they have failed to release most of the money and the banks also failed to agree after a meeting of several hours on Monday on how to proceed.
The SBI-led consortium is looking for a buyer for Jet and a deadline passed on Friday for prospective bidders to express an interest in acquiring a 75 percent stake in the carrier.
The SBI is yet to announce a shortlist of prospective bidders but Indian media said four were in the running including Etihad Airways, which already owns a 24 percent stake.
“Jet Airways will now await the bid finalization process by SBI and the consortium of Indian Lenders,” the airline said, adding that it hoped to resume services “as soon as possible.”
Bad investments, competition from several low-cost carriers, high oil prices and a weak rupee have led to Jet’s current financial predicament, analysts say.
A collapse of Jet, and the loss of more than 20,000 jobs, would deal a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-business reputation as he seeks a second term in ongoing national elections.


Oil rises after US Navy destroys Iranian drone

Updated 19 July 2019
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Oil rises after US Navy destroys Iranian drone

  • The International Energy Agency is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million barrels per day
  • Speculators have exited options positions that could have provided exposure to higher prices in the next several years

TOKYO: Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday after the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, a major chokepoint for global crude flows, again raising tensions in the Middle East.
Brent crude futures were up 82 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $62.75 by 0100 GMT. They closed down 2.7 percent on Thursday, falling for a fourth day.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures firmed 61 cents, or 1.1 percent, at 55.91. They fell 2.6 percent in the previous session.
The United States said on Thursday that a US Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.
The move comes after Britain pledged to defend its shipping interests in the region, while US Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie said the United States would work “aggressively” to enable free passage after recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.
Still, the longer-term outlook for oil has grown increasingly bearish.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is reducing its 2019 oil demand forecast due to a slowing global economy amid a US-China trade spat, its executive director said on Thursday.
The IEA is revising its 2019 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) and may cut it again if the global economy and especially China shows further weakness, Fatih Birol said.
“China is experiencing its slowest economic growth in the last three decades, so are some of the advanced economies ... if the global economy performs even poorer than we assume, then we may even look at our numbers once again in the next months to come,” Birol told Reuters in an interview.
Last year, the IEA predicted that 2019 oil demand would grow by 1.5 million bpd but had already cut the growth forecast to 1.2 million bpd in June this year.
Speculators have exited options positions that could have provided exposure to higher prices in the next several years, market participants said on Thursday.
US offshore oil and gas production has continued to return to service since Hurricane Barry passed through the Gulf of Mexico last week, triggering platform evacuations and output cuts.
Royal Dutch Shell, a top Gulf producer, said Wednesday it had resumed about 80 percent of its average daily production in the region.