Jet Airways: Flights cancelled with Indian carrier on brink of total collapse

‘We realise that this has affected our guests’ travel plans and truly regret the inconvenience,’ says airline

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 12 April 2019 10:17
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Jet Airways: flights cancelled with Indian carrier on brink of total collapse

The Indian carrier Jet Airways appears to be on the point of total collapse, with almost all flights at its Mumbai airport base shown as “cancelled” or “non-operational”.

The last departure from Heathrow, which left on Thursday evening, landed at 10.51am on Friday, local time.

In March, a consortium of creditors, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), became the majority shareholders of Jet Airways after a debt-for-equity swap.

But most of the fleet has been grounded by the aircraft lessors.

A link between Manchester and Mumbai began only in November 2018 and was grounded in March.

On a series of test bookings by The Independent, it appears that no further flights from Heathrow are planned; departures are offered via Abu Dhabi airport on Etihad Airways.

Etihad took a 24 per cent share in Jet Airways in 2013 as part of a wave of disastrous investments which have cost the UAE carrier billions of dollars.

Jet Airways is telling passengers: “Due to operational reasons, our flight schedule has been impacted.

“We realise that this has affected our guests’ travel plans and truly regret the inconvenience.”

Jet Airways says its customer support teams are working around the clock “to ensure that our guests are re-accommodated on to alternate flights or provided with a full refund”.

It is promising refunds within 10 days, though with the airlines’ staff also going unpaid the evidence suggests that no cash has been paid out for weeks.

Going nowhere: Departures board for Jet Airways flights from Mumbai airport

Jet Airways was founded in 1993 as India’s first significant privately owned airline, competing with the poorly run state-owned Indian Airlines.

Initially Jet Airways flew domestic services, but within a decade expanded internationally with flights to destinations in the Indian sub-continent, and – in 2005 – London Heathrow.

Services between Mumbai and Manchester began in November 2018, but were cancelled four months later.

Jet Airways had multiple daily flights from Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai. It had a “code-share” agreement with Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin is saying: “Due to the possible cancellation of Jet Airways services, we are offering our customers with connecting flights with Jet Airways the options to rebook, reroute or refund their tickets.

“This applies to Virgin Atlantic ticketed bookings only.”

Passengers who booked Jet Airways services on Virgin Atlantic and have yet to begin travelling can get a full refund.

They could rebook to a later date on Jet Airways, which looks an over-optimistic course of action.

On Heathrow-Delhi flights, they can switch to Virgin Atlantic on the same route.

Passengers can also switch to an alternative Virgin destination – “subject to any fare difference being paid”.

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