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Jet Airways board meets, pressure on founder Naresh Goyal to quit

Naresh Goyal. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 25, 2019, 09.49 AM (IST)

A meeting of the Jet Airways board is currently underway in Mumbai. The airline is currently hobbling under over $1 billion of debt and the board is to be briefed about the latest developments in the airline. 

The board is also expected to take a call today on the continuation of Naresh Goyal as chairman of the board. 

As per reports, the banks to which Jet owes money want Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita Goyal, whole time member Gaurang Shetty, and Naseem Zaidi off the board

At least one television channel and its sister newspaper reported Monday that Goyal and his wife are expected to leave the board Monday.

The reports added that Chief Executive Vinay Dube is expected to stay on board the 25-year-old airline Goyal set up with his wife in 1993.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Goyal had agreed to step down as chairman and reduce his 51 per cent stake in the airline.

Monday's report also said that Jet's lenders may invoke Goyal's entire stake in the airline, and start looking for a new buyer in the coming weeks.

Saddled with more than $1 billion of debt, Jet is struggling to stay afloat. It has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors — some of which have forced the airline to ground as many as 40 planes.

Jet has survived a near-death experience once before; in 2013, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways injected $600 million of capital for a 24 per cent stake in the airline, three London Heathrow slots and a majority share in Jet's frequent flyer programme. The infusion helped Jet pare down debt and fight growing domestic competition.

Etihad's stake is likely to be diluted in the near future, the television channel reported.

Jet Airways was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters. 

(With inputs from Reuters)

Story highlights

Saddled with more than $1 billion of debt, Jet is struggling to stay afloat. It has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors — some of which have forced the airline to ground as many as 40 planes.