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Top bosses quit Jet Airways, dimming hopes it will fly again

Jet Airways has seen its aircraft being taken away by lessors, rivals starting flights on routes it operated, and pilots looking for jobs elsewhere.

New York

TWO top executives of Jet Airways India Ltd resigned this week, further diminishing prospects for the grounded carrier that is desperately seeking US$1.2 billion to fly again.

Chief executive officer Vinay Dube and chief financial officer Amit Agarwal quit the company citing personal reasons, Jet Airways said in two separate stock exchange filings on Tuesday. While both resignations were effective immediately, the carrier did not name any replacements for its most high profile employees. The airline's company secretary and compliance officer Kuldeep Sharma also quit.

The departures come just days after lenders to Jet Airways, once India's biggest airline by market value, received only one conditional bid for the company from a shortlist of potential investors. The airline, which had a fleet of 124 as recently as January, has seen its aircraft being taken away by lessors, rivals starting flights on routes it operated and pilots looking for jobs elsewhere, after it succumbed to a fierce price war that wiped out profits and cash.

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Mr Dube, previously a senior vice-president at Delta Air Lines, was appointed Jet's CEO two years ago, while Mr Agarwal, a former finance head at Suzlon Energy, joined as CFO in 2015. Naresh Goyal, the founder of India's oldest surviving private airline, also quit as chairman in March after caving in to pressure from creditors.

Jet Airways fell as much as 7 per cent to 120 rupees in morning trading in Mumbai on Wednesday. The broader S&P BSE Sensex index rose 0.2 per cent.

Etihad Airways PJSC said it was willing to reinvest in a minority stake in the carrier, provided other investors take care of the majority of the ailing airline's requirements, by the end of a bidding process last week. Etihad owns 24 per cent of Jet Airways.

SBI Capital Markets, a unit of Jet Airways' chief lender State Bank of India, said it had received a "few unsolicited offers, which the lenders may deliberate upon subsequently". BLOOMBERG