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April 17, 2019

Vijay Mallya expresses sympathy with Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal

Agencies

Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya has once again attacked the government for discriminating between public sector and private airlines while extending solidarity with crisis-hit Jet Airways and its founder Naresh Goyal.

In a series of tweets, Mallya said he was sorry that so many airlines had bitten the dust in the country.

"Even though Jet was a major competitor to Kingfisher at the time I feel sorry to see such a large private airline on the brink of failure when government used (Rs) 35K crore of public funds to bail out AirIndia. Just being a PSU is no excuse for discrimination," Mallya tweeted.

For want of cash and saddled under heavy debt, Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines had shut down in October 2012.

Mallya currently owes about Rs 9,000 crore to a clutch of public sector banks. Once the "King of Good Times", Mallya is now a fugitive economic offender living in London and facing extradition.

The controversial billionaire has extended full sympathy to Naresh Goyal who was recently forced by the public sector lenders to quit the airline board.

"Even though we were fierce competitors, my sympathies go out to Naresh and Neeta Goyal who built Jet Airways that India should be extremely proud of. Fine airline providing vital connectivity and class service," he wrote.

Struggling with a cash crunch, Jet Airways, which owes lenders over Rs 8000 crore, is on the verge of shutting operations temporarily to reduce cash burn. On Tuesday, it reportedly requested lenders for Rs 400 crore interim funding of to stave off temporary closure, even as its operational fleet shrunk to five aircraft.

According to Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, the airline on Tuesday operated only five aircraft, down from seven on Monday. Under the current regulations, the airline is required to operate five aircraft to save its air operating permit.

Vijay Mallya expresses sympathy with Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal

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