Millennium Post

MHA checking out new SpiceJet owner Ajay Singh’s background

The Home Ministry ordered a background check of Singh as part of the standard protocol of verifying antecedents of a potential investor, sources of funds and whether the promoter has any links with any unlawful activities or criminal gangs. The request for background check of the new owner of the SpiceJet came from the Civil Aviation Ministry.

“Background checking is a standard drill which we have to carry on if any investor infuses funds into any Indian company. If nothing adverse comes, we will give the security clearance,” a Home Ministry official said.

Background check of the new owner of the SpiceJet is expected to be completed by security agencies within a fortnight.

After facing financial trouble, the budget carrier had settled its dues with the tax authorities, oil
companies and paid rentals dues to some of its lessors.

SpiceJet paid these dues after Singh infused a Rs 500 crore in the carrier late last month as part of his overall Rs 1,500-crore investment plan to revive the airline.

Besides other dues, the airline recently cleared salaries due of its employees.

SpiceJet has a fleet of 17 leased Boeing 737-800s and owns 15 Bombardier Q-400s.

SpiceJet’s lessors include ICBC of China, MCAP of Japan, US-based Air Lease Corporation, besides B&B Air Acquisition, BOC Aviation and Ireland’s AWAS.

B&B Air and two other lessors have dragged SpiceJet to the court after it defaulted on the lease rentals following the severe cash crunch which lasted for almost a year.

They have filed petitions in the Delhi High Court seeking deregistration of six Boeing-737 planes leased to SpiceJet, on which the court has reserved its order.

Singh, who was the co-promoter of the airline earlier, after his come back as owner now holds 60.31 per cent stake following the exit of the Maran family.

After investing Rs 500 crore late last month, Singh plans to pay two more tranches of Rs 500 crore each to SpiceJet by this month and next month besides bringing in changes in the senior management to streamline operations, which has still not returned to full scale.

From a peak of 345 flight per day the carrier had operated until early last year, it currently operates around 220 flights per day.

The airline has already announced it plans to operate 280 flights during the summer though it has withdrawn services from six cities in the summer schedule which would come into effect from month-end.
Next Story
Share it