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After Jet's final touchdown, passengers say they will miss the airline

Set up by Naresh Goyal on April 1, 1992, Jet Airways's first flight took off from Mumbai for Ahmedabad on May 5, 1993, as an air-charter operator

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

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was finally grounded for now when its last flight, a 737, touched down at the airport early Thursday after departing from Amritsar, almost 26 years after it took off from here for Ahmedabad as an air taxi operator.

The aircraft VT-SJI (flight no. S2 3502), belonging to the erstwhile Sahara Airlines, departed from at 10.24 pm on Wednesday and touched down at in at 12.22 am on Thursday, ending the "Joy of Flying" for its millions of customers.

Sahara was acquired by Jet in 2007 to kill competition triggered by the emergence of low-cost like IndiGo, and GoAir, and the competition is said to have contributed in its downfall.

"I generally fly But when I boarded it from on Wednesday night, we were told this is the last flight the is operating as it is shutting down for the time being," said Amarjit Singh, who hails from Ludhiana.

Singh, a transporter by profession who frequently visits for business, said he is hopeful of the "resuming" operations soon.

Set up by on April 1, 1992, Jet Airways's first flight took off from Mumbai for Ahmedabad on May 5, 1993, as an air-charter operator, which does not require a published schedule.

However, more than a year later, it was granted the scheduled operator permit on January 14, 1995.

Another passenger, Shareef Abdullah, who runs a hotel chain and is a frequent flyer with the carrier, said it was painful to know that the is shutting down.

"They announced it both on departure from and after landing here that this was the last flight. It is really painful," he said.

The abrupt cancellation of the airline's services for the time being have left thousands of passengers stranded.

"I, along with my wife and children, had to travel to Ahmedabad early this morning. I had booked five tickets a month in advance. But when I reached the airport here, I was informed they have cancelled the operations," said Madan Lal Imali, who was travelling to his native place Pali Killa in for a family function.

He said his wife and children were very disappointed as it was to be their maiden flight.

"I had also booked train tickets in an AC coach and paid Rs 2,500 each for five seats to travel to Pali from Ahmedabad. Now I have been forced to cancel that journey as well, besides losing money," said Imali, who was to board the airline's flight 9W2929 for Ahmedabad from here post-mid night.

Struggling for months, chief executive Vinay Dube last evening announced the carrier was shuttering operations as his last-ditch attempt to get Rs 400 crore was rejected by lenders.

The decision leaves 20,000 jobs at stake and over Rs 8,500 crore of public funds, that the banks lent to the once-leading airline, at the risk of going down the drain.

The airline also owes lakhs of rupees to passengers and its vendors.

The lenders have put the airline for sale and four have shown preliminary interest.

First Published: Thu, April 18 2019. 13:25 IST
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