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Court pushes for quick resolution of Jet Airways insolvency

India's National Company Law Tribunal is pushing for the corporate insolvency resolution process for Jet Airways to be fast-tracked, citing the national importance of the matter.

An order from the Mumbai bench of the court appointed Ashish Chhawchharia from Grant Thornton as the interim resolution professional (IRP) and declared a moratorium on any action be creditors to recover assets or lodge legal action against Jet.

That moratorium will run until the completion of the insolvency process, the court approves a resolution plan, or a liquidation is ordered.

Chhawchharia has been ordered to provide fortnightly progress reports to the court, with the first due on 5 July.

He was also directed to "make every possible effort to complete the corporate insolvency process at the earliest possible time".

Under India's Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the IRP has a statutory 180 day period to complete the resolution plan, which can be extended by a further 90 days.

The court, however, asked the IRP and creditors to "expedite the matter and try to finalise the resolution plan on the fast track mode and they should not preferably wait for the completion of the statutory period of 180/270 days timeline permissible under IBC."

Insolvency proceedings have also been launched in the Netherlands against Jet, however the Mumbai court directed Chhawchharia not to be influenced by that, given there is no specific agreement on insolvency between the two governments.

State Bank of India, which is owed Rs18 billion ($258 million) from the carrier, filed for insolvency resolution after it failed to secure an investment deal with Etihad Aviation Group and other investors to take over the airline.

The order notes that Jet's debts to operational creditors had exceeded $340 million by mid-December 2018. Pilots are also owed around Rs5.5 billion in unpaid wages, while the airline's engineers submitted a similar sized claim to the court.

Jet was forced it to ground most of its fleet in late 2018 and reduce its operations until it suspended them on 17 April after it could not secure additional funding to maintain its operations.

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