Jet Airways Wednesday withdrew five more aircraft from service owing to non-payment of lease rentals, taking the total number of such non-operational aircraft to 37. Naresh Goyal, the chairman of the cash-starved airline earlier this week had said more than 50 airplanes are not in operations now.
The airline has a fleet of 119 planes, including five Boeing 737 Max, as per its website. Since February 7, the airline for the first time had informed the exchanges of grounding of four planes on account of rental payment defaults, it has withdrawn 37 of planes till Wednesday from service.
However, the actual number of grounded planes is much higher as Goyal, in a letter to the airline's equity partner Etihad Airways chief executive Tony Douglas, last week had said over 50 aircraft are out of operations. In a filing to the stock exchanges Wednesday, the airline said, "an additional five aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of rentals to the lessors under their respective lease agreements." "As you are now aware, Jet Airways is in a very precarious position, with more than 50 aircraft grounded and increasing arrears of vendors and salaries which makes the need for interim funding all the more imperative," Goyal said in his March 8 letter.
It also said the airline is making all efforts to minimise disruption to its network due to the grounding of these planes and is "proactively" informing and re- accommodating its affected guests. However, the airline has not shared the number of flights it has been cancelling every day due to the grounding of 45 per cent of its fleet.
(With inputs from agencies.)