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India's Jet Airways aims to fly again by year-end with rehab plan cleared

Bankruptcy panel rejects carrier's request to restore all airport slots

Jet Airways aircraft, seen here in April 2019, are parked at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Indian bankruptcy authorities have accepted a rehabilitation plan submitted by sponsors of embattled carrier Jet Airways, opening the door for service to resume by the end of the year.

Although the National Company Law Tribunal approved the plan offered by London-based Kalrock Capital and Dubai businessman Murari Lal Jalan, the semi-judicial panel rejected the consortium's request to restore all of Jet Airways' airport slots.

Instead, the tribunal told Indian aviation authorities to redetermine the allocation of any airport slots to Jet Airways within a 90-day window.

Jet Airways, India's oldest private carrier, succumbed to financial difficulties amid competition from budget airlines and ceased all services in April 2019. The roughly 700 arrival and departure slots held by the company were redistributed to other airlines as a provisional measure.

The Indian airline industry faces falling demand due to the country's second wave of coronavirus infections. Only 2.11 million passengers flew on domestic routes in May, according to India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, down 63% from April.

When India imposed a strict lockdown in March 2020, the move grounded passenger airplanes. Though domestic flights resumed two months later, regular international passenger routes remain suspended.

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