JETLINK HOPES TO BE BACK IN THE AIR BEFORE EASTER NEXT YEAR
(Posted 18th December 2013)
It was Christmas come early for the owners of Jetlink when news emerged yesterday in Nairobi that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has granted the grounded carrier a renewal of their air service licence, prerequisite to eventually resume operations.
Grounded a year ago over South Sudan’s Central Bank’s refusal to let Jetlink remit the ticket sales proceeds from their accounts in Juba to Nairobi, the cash flow crisis this cause eventually prompted the airline to halt flights as they were no longer able to meet financial obligations in Kenya.
From other information sourced it also appears that Jetlink’s present owners, Captains Elly Aluvale and Kiran Patel, may have secured most creditors’ agreements to swap debt for equity, which would upon being certified by the KCAA for an Air Operator Certificate allow the airline to resume flights again. It is not clear right now, in the light of Mexican CRJ, the lessor of some of the planes Jetlink leased, reportedly objecting to the renewal of the air service licence, if they will now try to reach a negotiated settlement with Jetlink over the outstanding debt and if Jetlink will have to resume operations eventually with a reduced fleet of aircraft. There are also still issues with the winding up petition presently before a court in Nairobi, to which according to information at hand KCAA was one of the applicants, and if there is a change of heart to allow Jetlink to resume operations and then gradually pay off the debts to KCAA, as the authority could not be part of a debt for equity swap deal.
Some of the jets are parked at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport while at least one more is parked at Wilson Airport, and in order to regain the crucially important certificate of airworthiness for those planes they will have to undergo maintenance before they can take to the skies once again. Retaining the air service license was also important for Jetlink in order to remain a designated airline for Kenya on certain international routes and to retain their traffic rights for domestic routes within Kenya.
Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across East Africa.