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A start-up owner from Britain wants to buy a controlling stake in Jet. Who is he?

PW Bureau

For an airline that is surviving on life support, the businessman’s letter of interest is the first bit of good news that Jet has received in months

New Delhi: On the list of Jet Airways’ suitors is a name that stands out from the rest: Jason Unsworth. Odds are you haven’t heard it even once before. But he’s a British entrepreneur who has written to Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube to resubmit his bid for the ailing airline. Unsworth has said that he had earlier written to Jet’s lenders but banks haven’t responded to him yet.

“I have got a reply from Dube. He has put me in touch with a senior Jet Airways official for updates,” Unsworth, whose startup Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines was set up in 2015, and has been trying to start services from London Stansted Airport, told Moneycontrol.

Unsworth’s letter brings good news Jet hasn’t had in months

For an airline that is surviving on life support, Unsworth’s letter of interest is the first bit of good news that Jet has received in months. The airline has not only lost important slots, market share and aircraft but also the cream of its talent pool who have been picked up by aggressive rivals.

In such a scenario, Unsworth’s positivity comes as a breath of fresh air for the airline. “I want to see the staff get their salaries and I want to resume the operations before it loses more of its assets, including the slots,” Unsworth told Moneycontrol.

“Other airlines have poached talent from Jet, and it is important to start operations as soon as possible before the value erodes,” he added.

Unsworth says he has a plan for Jet

The entrepreneur said that he is aware of the debt on Jet Airways but has a plan to revive the airline. “We have several investors who are interested in Atmosphere, and they have also shown interest in Jet Airways,” he said but refused to give away more information.

The sticking point

Even though it all sounds so good so far, Unsworth does not have any experience in running an airline. Before starting his own business venture, he has worked in several airlines as a crew member and as a part of the ground staff. It is not clear if he fulfils the criteria laid down by Jet’s lenders to qualify as a bidder. According to the rulebook, an investor needs to have a net worth of Rs 1,000 crore and funds of Rs 1,000 crore, separately.

Unsworth’s start-up, Atmosphere Intercontinental Airlines, has a team in place but most of its senior management comprises of family members, according to the information available on the website. The airline has plans to start flights to Bangkok, Dubai and India.

However, Unsworth is pretty confident about the fact that he will be able to turn Jet around and said he has stitched up several partnerships at different levels to make it happen.