Jet Airways has cancelled all flights after talks to rescue the struggling carrier failed.
In a letter to the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai, the Indian company said: “Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going.
“Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights. The last flight will operate today.”
Once India’s largest airline, it grounded nearly all of its aircraft last week, leaving thousands of passengers stranded, amid a search for investors to buy 75% of the company.
Around 80% of its fleet of 120 aircraft had already been seized as the company struggled to find buyers willing to take on more than £900m in debt it owes to multiple banks.
By Monday it was operating only seven of its planes and on Tuesday the stock exchange asked the airline for clarification on reports that it was intending to temporarily end its operations.
On Wednesday evening (India time), the airline said it had been informed by the State Bank of India, on behalf of the consortium of Indian lenders, that they were unable to consider its request for “critical interim funding”.
It added that the decision to cancel all domestic and international flights had been taken after “a painstaking evaluation of all alternatives that were made available to the company and after receiving guidance and advice on the same from its board of directors”.
The company said it had tried for “several weeks and months” to seek interim and long-term funding but had been “left with no other choice” but to suspend flights.
All passengers who had booked flights would be informed by text message or email, the airline said, adding: “Jet Airways sincerely and profusely apologises for the disruption to the travel plans of all its guests.
“The airline would like to thank them for their continued patronage, support and loyalty over the years.
“Above all, the airline would like to express its sincere gratitude to all its employees and stakeholders that have stood by the company in these trying times. We hope to bring the flying sun back into the skies.”
At its peak, Jet operated more than 120 planes and well over 600 daily flights, but its former prestige has done little to generate enough interest among potential buyers.
Its lenders, led by SBI, have been seeking expressions of interest for an up to 75% stake in the airline.