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Opinion
Mihir Sharma

What Jet’s Collapse Says About India

Its failure is another sign that sectors in the rapidly growing country aren’t going to look the same as counterparts elsewhere. 

Jet was one of only two full-service airlines left in India.

Jet was one of only two full-service airlines left in India.

Photographer: Eliot Blondet/AFP/Getty Images
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It looks like Jet Airways Ltd.’s luck has finally run out. India’s oldest privately owned airline suspended operations on a “temporary” basis on Wednesday after failing to secure a bailout. It’s more than a billion dollars in debt and has lost money for the last four quarters. 

On one level, you could argue that this is a good sign for India: Its institutions are holding up. State-owned banks are Jet’s biggest creditors and they seem unwilling to throw more money at the airline without a clear revival plan. This is a big change from the past, when they kept supporting one of Jet’s rivals, the ill-fated Kingfisher Airlines Ltd., long after it seemed rational to do so.