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Jet likely to drop plan to transfer ATR turboprop fleet to JetLite

Jet Airways will likely drop a plan to transfer the airline’s ATR turboprop aircraft fleet to its subsidiary JetLite for now. The move has been prompted by regulatory complexities and costs issues, a person familiar with the development said.

Jet currently has 18 ATRs in its fleet, which cater to the airline’s regional routes, while JetLite has a total fleet of 11 Boeing 737 planes.

“Jet Airways had plans to transfer its entire fleet of ATR aircraft to its subsidiary airline JetLite. This was part of the airline’s overall profitability plan. However, after toying with the idea for quite some time, it has dropped the plan due to technical reasons and cost issues,” this person said on condtion of anonymity.

“In this case, all the 18 aircraft would have to be deregistered first and sent out to the lessor and then registered again. Besides, the process also involves huge costs. Therefore, the airline has at this stage decided to not to go ahead with the plan,” the source said.

When contacted, the private carrier said that evaluation of the fleet vis-a-vis planned deployment was a routine exercise.

“At Jet Airways we continually evaluate our fleet vis-a-vis planned deployment across our operational network, with a sharp focus on profitability. Our ATR fleet is also part of this evaluation and we will be in a position to share the details once we arrive at any decision,” a Jet Airways spokesperson said in response to a text message.

The Naresh Goyal-promoted airline and JetLite – formerly Air Sahara which was bought out by Jet in 2007 — operate under two different air operator permits and the transfer of aircraft from one airline to another airline involves a complex process, sources said.

Airline chairman Naresh Goyal had earlier said that Jet Airways was looking at restructuring the fleet.

“We are looking at it. We may sell our surplus aircraft or return them to lessors. We are finding out what is the most economical way to go forward. We will be announcing all this soon,” Goyal had said a few months ago.

Jet Airways, in which Gulf carrier Etihad holds 24 per cent stake, aims to turn profitable by 2017.

It suffered a loss of Rs 4,130 crore in 2013-14, but had cut it down by almost 96% to Rs 43 crore in the September quarter of this fiscal, as against Rs 999 crore in the second quarter of FY14.

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