Jet Airways India Ltd. is in advanced talks to order about 50 Airbus SE A220 aircraft, according to people familiar with the matter, marking what could be a fresh beginning for the bankrupt carrier that’s attempting to make a comeback.
Deliveries of the new aircraft will start in 2025, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are confidential. A deal for 50 such planes would probably be valued at around $1.8 billion after usual discounts, according to figures from leading aircraft appraiser Avitas.
It’s unclear whether the planes will be bought outright by the airline or leased, or a mixture of both, the people said. The deal is still being finalized and is yet to be signed, they added.
The airline, once India’s top private carrier, is undergoing a court-monitored restructuring and seeking to reenter a market notorious for cut-throat fare wars and some of the world’s costliest jet-fuel prices. IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., is the clear leader, controlling over 50 percent of the domestic market while more than half a dozen carriers fight for the rest.
Jet Airways, planning to return with a mix of premium and no-frills services, is also in separate talks with Boeing Co. and Airbus to potentially place a “sizable order from the 737 Max or A320neo families of jets,” the people familiar with the matter said.
Dubai-based, Indian-origin businessman Murari Lal Jalan and Florian Fritsch, the chairman of London-based financial advisory and alternative asset manager Kalrock Capital Management Ltd., are in the process of taking over Jet Airways.
The airline is “in the very final stages of discussions with lessors and planemakers for aircraft, as well as for for engines,” a representative for Jalan and Kalrock said in a statement. “We will announce our aircraft choice, sourcing, and fleet plan when the process concludes.”
A representative for Airbus said the planemaker is “always in discussions” with all its existing and prospective customers to understand and support their fleet requirements.
Jet Airways will initially start operations with leased aircraft considering plane manufacturers with limited production capacity are usually sold out years in advance, they said. Because planemakers have such long lead times for delivery, so-called pre-delivery payments are made in instalments, with as little as 1 percent of the aircraft value actually forked out at the time of the order.
Any revival of Jet Airways, which collapsed under a pile of debt in 2019 and became the first airline to enter a reformed insolvency resolution process, would be a landmark moment for India’s bankruptcy laws.
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