Millennium Post

No bail-out for Jet... private cos must run their airlines smoothly: Govt

New Delhi: Virtually ruling out possibility of bailout package for crisis-hit Jet Airways, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu Monday said it is for private airlines' boards and managements to ensure that they function properly and take appropriate measures depending on prevailing market conditions.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has also decided not to intervene with respect to Jet Airways' request seeking more time for making payments to airport operators, according to a senior official. Jet Airways has been grappling with financial woes that has also resulted in the full-service carrier delaying payment of salaries to staff, including pilots.

The airline posted a loss of Rs 1,261 crore in the three months ended September. Responding to queries related to Jet Airways, including possible bailout package, Prabhu said that in a deregulated atmosphere, the ministry's endeavour is to deal with sector-specific issues.

"For a private airline, it is for the board of directors and their management to ensure that the airline functions properly, that (they) have to take appropriate measures depending upon market conditions that will prevail from time to time," the minister said without directly mentioning Jet Airways.

Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said the airline wanted some more lead time with regard to payments to airport operators but that was something to be done commercially between the two entities.

"That is something that they have to deal with airport operators. The ministry does not get into that.

"We don't get into commercial discussions between airlines and airport operators. It is to be done commercially between the two entities," Choubey said.

They were speaking at the sidelines of an event here.

On November 13, cash-strapped Jet Airways said it is at various stages of discussions with multiple "interested parties" for capital infusion and partial stake sale in its loyalty programme Jet Privilege.

The airline is looking for investors to tide over the liquidity crisis, which has resulted in delayed payments to some vendors and salaries to a section of its over 16,000 employees.

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