‘Embarrassed about investors losing money’

Jet Airways’s chairman Naresh Goyal (in pic)?on Thursday apologised to shareholders who lost money after the airline’s shares plummeted amid concerns over financial woes.

“Lots of shareholders have lost money, I feel guilty and embarrassed,” Goyal said at the airline’s annual general meeting.

“Key external factors that slowed down our momentum were, weakening of the rupee, around 16 per cent increase in Brent rates with a consequent rise in fuel costs, industry's inability to pass on increased costs to the customer and no corresponding increase in ticket fares.”

The stock of India’s second-largest airline has fallen over 12 per cent since July 2 and touched a 52-week low of Rs 286.95 apiece on Thursday.

Amid rising concerns over the airline’s financial health and proposed salary reductions for employees, the Jet Airways chairman said a new committee would be set up to quell negative publicity around it. All perceptions about the company would be corrected, Goyal said. The airline’s directors, Naseem Zaidi and Ashok Chawla, would chair the meetings of the new committee, he added.

Stressing that the airline has a very strong code share network with partners globally, Goyal said it is also looking at a co-operation with Air India in terms of engineering and flight operations.