Regulator to ensure carrier not compromising on safety amid financial distress
Mumbai : Aviation regulator DGCA is set to conduct a financial audit of the Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways, amid its fiscal conditions under pressure due to the surging jet fuel prices and low fares, a source said. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has already evaluated the financial health of the national carrier Air India recently, besides conducting a special audit of Air Deccan, the source close to the development said.
The financial audit of airlines, which has been conducted in the past too, is done to assess their fiscal health and also ensure that they are not compromising on safety due to financial stress.
“We will conduct the financial audit of Jet Airways from August 27. A similar audit of Air India has been completed,” the source said.
Jet Airways confirmed that the regulator will be evaluating its performance and said the airline is prepared for it.
“The airline is aware of the proposed inspection and is prepared for it. At Jet Airways, safety is of paramount importance,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson in a statement.
The financial audit of Air India was necessitated as the airline has been defaulting on salary payments to its employees, besides grounding a number of aircraft due to payment issues with vendors.
The DGCA has also carried out a special audit of Air Deccan and will soon be conducting a similar exercise on Air Odisha, following orders from the aviation ministry, the source said.
The two carriers, which together have been mandated to fly on 84 routes under the government’s regional connectivity scheme, had recently cancelled a number of flights, citing shortage of pilots and technical glitch in their aircraft, the source said.
Air Deccan had started operations in December last year while Air Odisha took to the skies in February this year.
The Ahmedabad-based GSEC Aviation and Monarch Networth Capital had last year acquired 100 per cent stake in Air Deccan and 60 per cent in Air Odisha.
The Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways, in which Gulf carrier Etihad holds a 24 per cent stake, is grappling with financial woes and its share price has also taken a beating in recent weeks.
On August 9, the board of directors of Jet Airways deferred the matter of consideration of the unaudited financial results for the June quarter.
Regulator Sebi is looking into Jet Airways’ deferring the announcement of the June quarter results following reservations expressed by the airline’s audit committee.
The loss making Air India, which failed to attract any buyer earlier this year, is also facing a cash crunch and is awaiting Rs 980 crore additional funding from the government.
It delayed the payment of salaries to its employees for the fifth consecutive month in July.
AI to ground 19 A320 jets over lack of spares
Mumbai: Debt-laden Air India has grounded as many as 19 aircraft, including nine Airbus A321, due to want of spares, resulting in a significant loss of revenue to the carrier besides flight cancellations, one of its pilots’ body has alleged.
Besides, there are also aircraft fleet swaps which result in last minute change of inventory, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said in a letter to Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola on Sunday.
“Almost 23 per cent of the Air India fleet is grounded for lack of spares. To put this into perspective, aircraft worth approximately $3.6 billion or approximately Rs 25,000 crore (at Sunday’s list price) are lying idle in the hangars,” the ICPA alleged.
While as many as eight Airbus A321 aircraft, of the total 20 such planes operated by Air India, are out of operations at various stations for lack of spares, four A319s are also on ground for one reason or the other, it said.
The A319 aircraft is the workhorse of the domestic network operating on high-density routes and has the maximum seating capacity, the ICPA said adding that “(due to the grounding of these planes) there is a significant revenue loss on a daily basis.”