Jet Airways founder and chairman Naresh Goyal has stepped down from his leadership position, clearing the way for the Indian carrier’s major creditors to execute the next stage of a bailout.

After a March 25 board meeting, Jet Airways informed stock markets that Goyal and his wife Anita have resigned from the board, and Goyal has relinquished his chairmanship. Goyal’s departure has long been seen as a necessary precursor of a new funding deal, although until now his intentions and involvement in the bailout have been unclear.

The role of Jet’s part-owner Etihad Airways is also yet to be determined. Etihad’s stake is expected to be diluted as a result of the bailout and ownership reshuffle, and the carrier has lost one of its two board seats. Etihad was believed to be considering a fresh capital investment into Jet, but such a deal has proved elusive.

A consortium of creditors, led by the State Bank of India, will nominate two directors to the board.

Jet’s board also approved a debt-for-equity swap that will make the creditor consortium the airline’s majority owner, at least temporarily. The creditors will also provide immediate funding of up to 15 billion rupees ($218 million) through an “appropriate debt instrument,” which the board said will “restore normalcy to the company's level of operations.” The loan will be secured by company assets.

An interim management committee will be formed “at the instructions of the lenders,” the airline said. The aim of this committee will be to “manage and monitor the daily operations and cashflow of the company.”

The next step will be finding new part-owners for Jet. According to the carrier’s bailout plan, a bidding process would be initiated by the creditors. This would involve “the sale/issue of shares to new investor(s),” with this process to be completed in the June quarter.

Jet has been forced to ground an increasing proportion of its fleet in the past few months as it missed lease payment deadlines. This has caused operational disruption and cancelations. The carrier has also defaulted on loan payments.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com