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Jet's planes may be diverted to plug demand due to bans on 737 Max: Lessor

Anurag Kotoky and Kyunghee Park | Bloomberg/ 14 Mar 19 | 01:58 PM

Debt-laden Jet Airways India Ltd. faces the prospect of seeing some of its leased Boeing Co. 737-800 aircraft reallocated to other carriers as a global grounding of the planemaker’s newest Max series spurs demand for other models.

BOC Aviation Ltd., the company leasing some of them to Jet Airways, is seeing “quite a lot of demand" for the planes, Robert Martin, the lessor’s chief executive officer, said Thursday.

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Demand for older versions of 737s is set to increase after two fatal crashes in five months involving 737 Max 8 jets prompt regulators to bar the plane amid an investigation into the safety of the aircraft. The 737 family as well as Airbus SE’s A320s form the backbone of modern commercial aviation, with most short-haul routes being covered by these jets.

Jet Airways, once one of India’s leading carriers, has piled up more than $1 billion in debt and failed to pay banks, employees and lessors on time, resulting in close to half its fleet being grounded. The airline has yet to finalize a bailout plan with its lenders, founders and minority owner Etihad Airways PJSC after months of negotiations.

“We understand that that’s coming to a resolution and we look forward to hearing it’s closed off," Martin said in a Bloomberg Television interview with David Ingles, Yvonne Man and Rishaad Salamat. 

“Obviously if it isn’t, we will do what we do in other situations, which is we will look to redeploy our aircraft, and at the moment there’s quite a lot of demand for the 737-800s that we have there."

BOC Aviation is at least the second lessor to voice about possible redeployment of Jet Airways aircraft. Dublin-based Fly Leasing Ltd. last week gave Jet Airways until the end of March to reach a financial resolution, or face redeployment of the three 737-800s it has leased to the airline.

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