Jet Airways founder and chairman Naresh Goyal has resigned following pressure from potential investors, while Indian state banks have agreed a cash injection to save the troubled airline.
The carrier had grounded around two-thirds of its fleet and cancelled flights in recent weeks as it struggled under the weight of more than £750 million of debt. The Indian government reportedly urged state-run banks to save the carrier to avoid widespread job losses ahead of a key general election.
Along with the announcement of Goyal’s resignation, Jet Airways said banks were prepared to lend around US$217 million to keep it running until it can sell shares to new investors, according to the BBC.
The extra cash will allow Jet Airways to redeploy several of its grounded aircraft to restore flights that had been cancelled.
Under the bailout agreement, lenders led by the State Bank of India will become the majority stakeholders.
Announcing his resignation, Goyal said: “For me, the 22,000 employees are my own family, as dear to me as Nivaan, Namrata and my wife Neeta, and no sacrifice is too big for me to safeguard the interest of Jet Airways and the families of the 22,000 employees. For the sake of my family of 22,000 employees and their respective families I have today taken the step of stepping down from the board of Jet Airways. I became the Chairman on 1 April 1992 and my family is behind me and with me in this decision and I hope you will support my decision too. I will miss you one and all. Thank you for your brilliant dedication and loyalty down the years. I am proud of you and wish you all a great future ahead with our Jet Airways.”
The airline’s board has praised Goyal for his “statesmanship, dedication and commitment” and for his “noble, large-hearted self-sacrifice in graciously stepping down from all that he held dear” for the sake of his employees.
Goyal and his wife Anita (Neeta) – who is also stepping down from the carrier – founded Jet Airways in 1992 and it launched operations in 1993.