Jet Airways shares rise after report of chairman stepping down

Jet Airways had a rough 2018 as competition intensified in the Indian skies, the rupee depreciated and high oil prices squeezed margins.
Jet Airways had a rough 2018 as competition intensified in the Indian skies, the rupee depreciated and high oil prices squeezed margins.PHOTO: REUTERS

BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Shares of Jet Airways Ltd jumped as much as 6 per cent on Friday (March 1), a day after two sources told Reuters that founder Naresh Goyal had agreed to step down as chairman.

Goyal, who founded the full-service carrier 25 years ago, has also agreed to reduce his 51 per cent stake in the airline but would continue to be a part of the company in some capacity even after stepping down as chairman, one of the sources said.

Jet, saddled with over US$1 billion debt, had a rough 2018 as competition intensified in the Indian skies, the rupee depreciated and high oil prices squeezed margins.

Jet did not respond to an email seeking comments. The company had said last week that its board had approved a rescue deal which will make its lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), its largest shareholder.

The airline was also forced to ground another six planes on Thursday due to non-payment of dues to lessors, taking the tally to 19 which is about 15 percent of its fleet. It has a fleet of about 123, mainly Boeing Co planes, including 16-owned aircraft.

The stock posted its biggest daily percentage gain since Feb 15, hitting a high of 237.05 rupees. It was last up 4.4 per cent as of 0347 GMT.