A little over a year after coming onboard to revive bankrupt-Jet Airways, CEO-Designate Sanjiv Kapoor has quit the airline even while its winning bidder Jalan Kalrock consortium asserted that it is committed to the airline’s revival. The resignation of Kapoor, which follows a string of senior executives quitting the grounded airline in recent months, is the latest air pocket faced by Jet Airways, which shuttered operations back in April 2019.
After flying for more than 25 years, the once-storied Jet Airways went into an insolvency resolution process and the Jalan Kalrock Consortium (JKC) emerged as the winning bidder. However, the ownership transfer process has been facing headwinds for long.
In a statement on Friday, JKC said Kapoor is departing the company effective May 1 at the conclusion of his notice period. A source said that Kapoor’s last working day at the grounded airline was Friday. He joined the airline as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in April 2022.
JKC said it remains fully committed to the revival of Jet Airways and its executive committee will oversee CEO-designate responsibilities until a suitable replacement is in place. Ankit Jalan, a Board Member of the consortium, said it will be announcing the new CEO for Jet Airways shortly.
“… Jet Airways was one of the most loved airlines in India for the last 25 years it operated before ceasing operations in 2019. I am proud of the ground-breaking business plan we put together and the progress we made though regrettably, the restart of operations could not happen as planned in 2022,” Kapoor said in the statement.
Amid continuing differences with the lenders that have delayed the ownership transfer, Jalan said JKC is in the last leg of closing the transfer. “The revival of Jet Airways is through a court-approved process, which has taken more time than originally estimated by us, but needless to say JKC is committed to the revival of Jet Airways.
“We are in the last leg of closing the transfer of ownership of Jet Airways to JKC, subsequent to which we will settle outstanding amounts payable to previous creditors as per our approved resolution plan and shall, soon thereafter, recommence the commercial operations of Jet Airways as per our re-launch plans,” Jalan said.
On January 2, JKC said Kapoor will remain the CEO-designate of the company till the airline’s ownership is transferred to the consortium by the lenders.
The airline’s air operator certificate was revalidated by aviation safety regulator DGCA in May 2022, following which it announced its plans to recommence operations in September 2022, but the relaunch was delayed. Prior to joining of Kapoor, Sudhir Gaur had quit as the interim CEO of Jet Airways.
On March 20, Kapoor said the new management does not want to be “in a rush” to restart the operations of Jet Airways. Speaking at a conference in the national capital, he had also said the journey is a marathon and not a sprint.
“Consumers in a market as large as India need a choice of full-service carriers, and I look forward to seeing Jet Airways back in the skies again soon!” Kapoor said on Friday.
In October 2020, the airline’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) approved the revival plan submitted by the consortium of Dubai-based Murari Lal Jalan and the UK’s Kalrock Capital. In June 2021, the consortium’s bid was approved under the insolvency resolution process.
In January this year, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the transfer of ownership of bankrupt Jet Airways to the Jalan Kalrock consortium and gave the winning bidder more time to pay the dues to the creditors.
The rulings had come on two petitions filed by the consortium. One plea pertained to the approval of the transfer of ownership, and the second one related to an extension of time for the payment of dues to the creditors.