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Jet Airways groundings rise to 25 aircraft

Jet Airways has grounded two more aircraft for defaults on lease payments, meaning nearly a quarter of its fleet is now out of operations.

The carrier confirmed the latest two groundings in a 4 March Indian stock exchange statement, joining 23 other aircraft that the carrier has previously grounded for non-payment of lease rentals, that the carrier disclosed between 8 February and 2 March.

As with those previous disclosures, the carrier did not identify the aircraft, nor the lessors involved. It is unclear if they will be voluntarily returned to lessors, or if they are subject to repossession orders.

Cirium's Fleet Analyzer shows that out of Jet's 96 aircraft fleet, 27 are in storage. The majority of the fleet is leased, with GECAS, Aircastle and BOC Aviation among the most exposed lessors.

The groundings come amid reports that chairman Naresh Goyal is preparing to step down from his post, following the 21 February approval of a plan for Jet's lenders to swap their debt for Rs1.14 billion ($16 million) in equity.

It is unclear when the debt-for-equity swap will take place, and what the effect will have on Goyal's 51% stake and 24% shareholder Etihad Aviation Group.

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