we haven’t heard much about the revival of Jet Airways after the NCLT approved the Jalan-Kalrock consortium as the winning bidder. This has been because the consortium refused to infuse the committed funds into the airline waiting for the Air Operators Certificate to be revived and the slots to be returned to the airline, and it became a chicken and egg problem. However, in December 2021, the consortium started to make some big moves. They set the date of the rolling out of their plan, including refunds to customers and payments to employees as per the Approved Resolution Plan as of December 22, 2021.
Over the past few months, the consortium has finally ramped up the appointments at the airline. Realising that they wouldn’t be able to move forward without an accountable manager (a role that was being filled by an acting CEO), the airline’s to-be-promoter started to finally start rolling out appointments to people who they wanted to lead the airline. The airline has shifted its headquarters to Gurugram from Mumbai, and there was already a skeletal team assembled to revive operations.
Jet Airways begins senior management appointments
The consortium today announced the appointment of Sanjiv Kapoor as the new CEO of the airline. Sanjiv Kapoor has had decades of aviation experience, having worked at North West Airlines, before moving into consulting at Bain & Co for the aviation practice. He’s worked at other marquee names such as Temasek as well before he arrived on the Indian aviation scene, first as the COO at SpiceJet, and then moving on to take on the role of the CSCO at Vistara, where he stayed till 2019. Sanjiv has been working at the Oberoi group of hotels as the President over the last year. He will join Jet Airways on April 4, 2022.
On his return to aviation, Sanjiv Kapoor said,
I am looking forward to getting back to aviation, an industry I am passionate about, with Jet Airways, one of the warmest, classiest and most loved brands to have graced Indian aviation. Even though Jet Airways has been out of operation for three years, it still has a large fan base of loyal customers who miss it every day and can’t wait for it to take to the skies again. Working together with a very strong team of experienced aviation professionals that is being put together by the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium, I look forward to leading the charge in rebuilding Jet Airways into the most preferred customer-oriented airline once again, a people-focused airline for the digital age.
The news of Sanjiv Kapoor returning to aviation has generally been received positively.
Congratulations to @jetairways and @JalanKalrock for landing @TheSanjivKapoor as CEO for revival of the airline.
— Ajay Awtaney (@LiveFromALounge) March 4, 2022
But Sanjiv is not the only CXO level appointment made by the airline recently. In February 2022, the consortium also announced the appointment of Vipula Gunatilleka as the Chief Financial Officer at the airline. He should have joined the airline by now.
Mr Gunatilleka was the CEO of SriLankan Airlines until January 2022. Mr Gunatilleka was appointed by the Board of SriLankan Airlines in 2018 to restructure the airline and in less than two years after assuming the duties as the CEO, the airline recorded positive EBITDA. Prior to joining SriLankan Airlines, Mr Gunatilleka was the CFO & Board Member of TAAG Angola Airlines from November 2015 to July 2018 under Emirates Management. He played a pivotal role in turnaround the loss-making national carrier of Angola.
Mr Gunatilleka qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the year 1987 after which he did his MBA from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Mr Gunatilleka is also a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (FCMA) from UK and Certified Public Accountant (FCPA) from Australia. He has knowledge in aircraft financing, strategic planning, cost-efficient business modelling.
On this appointment, Mr Gunatilleka said,
I am very excited to join the company and I look forward to contributing my knowledge of the last 30 years in Jet Airways’ resurgence in its new avatar. We will capitalize on the strong brand value that Jet Airways has in the market and use it to rebuild the lost ground.
I first joined SriLankan Airlines as its CFO in 2001, when it was part of the Emirates Group and was establishing its feet in the Indo-Pacific Sub-Continent. Having spent sufficient time in leadership roles in the aviation industry including as CEO of SriLankan Airlines until January 2022, I am aware of the responsibility that lingers on the shoulders of the leadership team, especially the CFO and I am confident Jet Airways will soon regain its lost glory.
Jet Airways has finally started to appoint key management personnel for the resurrection of the airline, and this is the surest sign that they are beginning to get serious about a return to the skies soon. Sanjiv Kapoor is a great pick and has a track record to show at various Indian carriers. Although, of course, this time it is different. It is not an airline closing down and on its knees or an airline that was the talk of the town. Sanjiv, Vipula and the team will have a tough ask of them to bring back Jet Airways to the skies.
What do you think about the appointments being made at Jet Airways? When do you think they will take to the skies again?
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