India’s Jet Airways halts all international and domestic operations

No other choice: Indian airline grounded after banks refuse to keep it float

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One of India’s major airlines, Jet Airways, has announced it is temporarily halting flight operations on Wednesday after the carrier failed to secure the “critical interim funding” necessary for the company to remain afloat.

Jet Airways will operate the last flight on Wednesday as it cancels all its international and domestic flights, the airline said in a statement. It explained that it cannot afford to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going, as all its months-long attempts to seek both interim and long-term funding were in vain.

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“Unfortunately, despite its very best efforts, the airline has been left with no other choice today but to go ahead with a temporary suspension of flight operations,” the statement reads.

Earlier this month, the airline’s fleet was significantly reduced to just five aircraft and it was forced to suspend international operations. On Wednesday, the Jet Airways website listed only 37 domestic flights and had an additional nine-page list of canceled flights, saying that the schedule was impacted by “operational reasons.”

The troubled company failed to receive a stop-gap loan of about $217 million from its lenders as part of a rescue deal agreed in late March, Reuters earlier reported.

“Bankers did not want to go for a piecemeal approach which would keep the carrier flying for a few days and then again risk having Jet come back for more interim funding,” an unnamed bank source in the negotiations on the debt resolution process told the agency.

The uncertainty over the crucial funding crashed Jet Airways stock on Tuesday, with shares plunging around 20 percent.

Employees have been hit hardest by the crisis in the company and have reportedly not been paid in months. The pilots even called on the State Bank of India (SBI) to release the necessary funds and appealed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save 20,000 jobs which may be lost in the shutdown.