Jet Airways suspends service to Abu Dhabi

Carrier also said it would delay paying interest on maturing debt

FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 passenger plane moves on the runway as a man walks past at an airport in New Delhi, India, August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo
Powered by automated translation

Indian carrier Jet Airways has suspended services to and from Abu Dhabi for an indeterminate time period citing "operational reasons", the carrier said Monday.

"Jet Airways has cancelled a number of flights to and from Abu Dhabi," a Jet Airways spokesman told The National. "All affected Etihad guests have been re-booked onto alternative Etihad operated flights or offered refunds as per standard policy. Guests should contact their travel agent or the Etihad Contact Centre for further assistance."

The decision grounds four Jet Airways aircraft and comes amid deepening financial woes for the second-biggest Indian airline.

Jet Airways said on Monday it will delay paying interest on its maturing debt due to financial constraints - it is currently saddled with more than $1 billion in liabilities. The carrier has also delayed payments to its pilots, suppliers and lessors for months and defaulted on loans, as it battles intensifying competition, a weak rupee and rising fuel costs, Reuters reported.

Last month, lenders proposed a bailout of the carrier, potentially providing a lifeline for the airline that was on the brink of failure. It needs 85bn rupees (Dh4.38bn) to help it get back on its feet, Bloomberg reported. Under the plan the carrier will be revamped with banks becoming the biggest shareholders of the company, according to a filing to the National Stock Exchange of India, where its shares are traded.

An official with State Bank of India (SBI), Jet's largest creditor, said last week that the group of its lenders are expected to reach a plan for the turnaround strategy within a week.

Shares in Jet, which fell as much as 15 per cent so far this year, were up 1.45 per cent at the market's close on Monday.