Jet Airways chairman Goyal steps down, banks take control

Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal steps down amid crisis

Saddled with more than $1 billion of debt, Jet is struggling to stay afloat. "No body is barred from bidding or taking over the airline as per the rule", he said.

"The Rs 1,500 crore is a fully secured, priority, interim funding for two months which we believe is good enough to normalise operations of the airline before it is sold Jet as a going concern", SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

Saving Jet is crucial for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he looks to avoid thousands of job losses ahead of a general election.

The decision paves the way for lenders, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), to invoke some of Goyal's shareholding and rescue the airline on an immediate basis. The carrier defaulted on loan repayments to banks on December 31. The airlines have promised the pilots a base city of their choice, apart from a two-month base salary as a joining bonus, they said. It will re-deploy several of its grounded aircraft and renew numerous routes it had temporarily suspended. Once that is done, the banks are expected to offload their stakes.

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"No sacrifice is too big for me to safeguard the interest of Jet Airways and the families of the 22,000 employees", Goyal said in the statement.

Its lenders will convert their outstanding debt into equity shares for a token amount of one rupee and take a controlling stake in Jet. His wife Anita Goyal also stepped down from the board of the company. Jet's shares rose nearly 13% following the news of Goyal's exit. Shares of Jet Airways had jumped over 15% on the National Stock Exchange after the news reports, and closed the day at Rs 261 per share.

"It could be financial investor, it could be airline.including Naresh Goyal himself or Etihad".

Goyal's wife, Anita, with whom he set up the full-service carrier at a time when state-run Air India was the only formidable opponent, will also step down from the board.

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