Jet Airways flights down to a trickle, PMs office calls crisis meeting

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Struggling Indian airline Jet Airways has reportedly cancelled all its worldwide flights today, after it grounded 10 aircraft yesterday for financial reasons.

At the same time, Jet also cancelled domestic flights between Mumbai and Kolkata and Kolkata and Guwahati for Friday due to operational reasons.

Jet Airways said its Mumbai-Kolkata, Kolkata-Guwahati and Dehradun-Guwahati via Kolkata stand cancelled for Friday due to "operational reasons". Jet Airways' last remaining long-haul flights, to London, Paris and Amsterdam, were cancelled on Thursday evening.

The airline is also cancelling more domestic flights, raising doubts about its survival over the next few days even as the stake sale process continues.

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Following grounding of flights due to unpaid dues, several jet flights were grounded bringing its fleet down to just 14 aircraft.

Sources said private equity firms TPG Capital and Indigo Partners, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd (NIIF) and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways are among the four firms that have submitted their expressions of interest (EoIs) for picking a stake in Jet Airways.

The airline, saddled with more than $1bn (£765m) in debt, is seeking a financial lifeline to avoid collapse.

Lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), want a new investor to acquire a stake of up to 75 percent in the airline.

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Meanwhile, PTI quoting aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said the ministry may review Jet's eligibility to continue its worldwide operations after it gets a report from the regulator.

The crisis-hit Jet Airways has a lot riding on the outcome of the stake sale with its operational crisis continuing to spiral out of control.

The Jet Airways stock was again clobbered on the bourses, closing 1.14 per cent lower at Rs 260.40 on the BSE on Thursday. As per government rules, an airline must have at least 20 planes for operating internationally.

Without Jet Airways, the reduced competition could result in higher fares between Singapore and India, experts said. He also said the airline has been told to ensure that passenger issues are taken into consideration while it deals with the situation.

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Mismanagement has also plagued the airline with analysts tracing the start of Jet´s financial problems to its 2006 purchase of Air Sahara for $500 million in cash.