Emirates airline said on Sunday it is “cooperating fully” with relevant authorities after two of its passengers, one of whom is the founder of India’s Jet Airways, were barred from flying.
Naresh Goyal, former chairman of Jet, and his wife Anita Goyal, a former board member of the carrier, were held at Mumbai’s airport as they were flying to London via Dubai. The couple was stopped from flying as they were in an Emirates aircraft, which was heading to the runway for take-off.
Media reports said Goyal and his wife were offloaded from the flight and stopped from leaving India. Airport officials provided no explanation as to why the couple was held, but reports added that they were allowed to leave the airport later.
In a statement, Emirates said it is cooperating, and that it abides by the laws of the various countries where it operates. The airline did not provide more details on what happened onboard.
What’s actually happening?
The action against Goyal comes just a month after Jet Airways grounded all its aircraft and suspended domestic and international flights amid a liquidity crisis. Some lawmakers in India had been calling on police to stop senior Jet Airways officials from leaving the country.
The airline is now attempting to restructure and get a cash injection from lenders. It opened up bids for stakes from various investors, and has received interest from parties that include Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, which already owns a 24 per cent stake in it.
Etihad said it would buy more stakes subject to certain conditions being met, such as having additional investors “to provide the majority of Jet Airways’ required recapitalisation.”
The future of the Indian carrier is now unclear with talks between different parties still ongoing and no resolutions announced.
Jet, which now has over $1 billion in debt, was once a key player in India’s aviation sector, but was later hurt by the rise of low-cost carriers such as SpiceJet and IndiGo in the early 2000s. The airline also lost passengers who opted for Jet’s competitors on international routes.
Then, in 2018, a plunge in the value of the Indian rupee added to Jet’s woes, as flying became more expensive for Indians.
Jet’s share prices have tumbled by around 43 per cent since mid-April when it started grounded some of its aircraft for failure to pay the lease on them.