The board of Jet Airways on Thursday discussed ways to raise funds without taking an investor on board as chairman Naresh Goyal does not want to give up control in the loss-making carrier he set up 25 years ago, a source said.
At an unscheduled board meeting at the headquarters of Jet Airways in Mumbai, which lasted for over four hours, various cost-reduction measures also came up for discussion, said the source.
In the red for three consecutive quarters, Jet Airways has been gasping for funds to keep the airline afloat amid a liquidity crunch. Amid all this, rating agency Icra had downgraded Jet Airways’ long-term rating for the second time in recent months, and its largest lender, SBI, ordered a “forensic” audit of the listed airline’s books.
“Goyal wants to retain control in the airline. He wants to explore an alternative route of capital infusion. He wants the management to find out ways and means to resurrect the airline,” the source said. Notably, Goyal retaining control was reportedly a major issue that became a roadblock in Jet Airways’ talks with Tata Sons for a possible stake sale over a month ago.
During the meeting, it was also discussed how Jet Airways could prune costs further and make itself viable in the long term, the source added. A query sent to a Jet Airways spokesperson remained unanswered.
Besides Goyal, the meeting was attended by Jet Airways board members Ashok Chawla, Nasim Zaidi and Rajshree Pathy, the source said. Group CFO and Goyal’s key negotiator during the stake sale talks with Etihad in 2013, Hamid Ali, was also part of the meeting, among others.
Earlier this week, the share price of Jet Airways slumped on the BSE after media reports emerged that a key executive adviser had left the airline. Nikos Kardassis, who had been the CEO of Jet Airways before leaving earlier, had been brought back by Goyal in May to revive the airline’s fortunes.