Bengaluru, April 24 (IANS) A group of Gulf-based NRIs are ready to raise emergency funding to enable debt-ridden and cash-strapped Jet Airways fly again, said a potential investor on Wednesday.
“We are ready to secure emergency funds from NRIs based in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Gulf investors to meet Jet’s operational needs and fly again in 10 days,” Saudi-based Gold Tower Group’s Chief Executive Mohammed Nagaman Lateef told IANS here.
The Dammam-headquartered Gold Tower Group is a major construction firm in the Arabian kingdom.
The other Gulf-based Indian expats ready to raise fund and invest in the airline are Dubai-based Indian Economic Trade Organisation President Asif Iqbal, Saudi-based Icon World and Sandalwood Director Aftab Khan and Aryan Hospitality and Aleef Aviation Chief Executive Mazhar Nawaz, he said.
“Though I have tweeted on April 19 to Jet’s official handle asking its founder-chairman Naresh Goyal and its Chief Executive Vinay Dube to contact me for emergency funding, there is no response yet from either even after five days,” said Lateef.
Expressing surprise that a 25-year-old largest private airline with 16,500 employees had to suspend operations since April 17 after a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India (SBI) rejected its plea for emergency funding, Lateef said the NRIs and potential investors have no other vested interest than to get Jet off the ground.
“We fail to understand how a successful and profitable airline could suddenly incur losses and accumulate over Rs 8,000 crore debt. What went wrong, how and why. We want Goyal and Dube to explain for due diligence before raising funds,” he said.
Alleging that there was a deliberate national or international conspiracy to ground and shut down Jet so that its competitors or rivals, including budget carriers could flourish, Lateef alleged that some vested interests have been working against the airline.
“The game plan was to get Goyal step down from the top executive post. He resigned to save the airline but not to ground it temporarily or permanently,” he said.
The NRIs are also keen to know why the SBI backed off from giving the airline contingency funds after assuring them, provided Goyal resigned.
“We are ready to get investors from Qatar and Dubai to bail out Jet from its financial crisis so it could fly high again in the next 240 hours,” added Lateef.