FILE PHOTO: A Jet Airways passenger aircraft prepares to land at the airport in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad August 12, 2013. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Struggling Indian airline Jet Airways Ltd said late on Thursday it had grounded four aircraft due to non-payments to lessors.

“The company is making all efforts to minimise disruption to its network due to the above and is proactively informing and re-accommodating its affected guests,” Jet Airways said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The airline, India’s second-largest by market share, did not name the leasing firms involved.

Saddled with debt of about $1.14 billion, Jet Airways has been hit by fierce competition, rupee depreciation and high oil prices. The full-service airline, which controls a sixth of India’s booming aviation market, owes money to banks, vendors and lessors.

Reuters last month reported that lessors were considering taking back planes after a meeting with the airline that one source familiar with the matter described as an ill-tempered showdown.

Jet Airways last week said it would seek shareholder approval at a Feb. 21 meeting to convert existing debt into equity and allow its lenders to nominate directors to its board, in an effort to resolve its financial issues.

The Business Standard last week reported Jet had agreed to most conditions set by shareholder Etihad Airways for offering a lifeline.

The deal would result in Jet Airways’ founder and chairman Naresh Goyal reducing his stake to 22 percent from 51 percent and stepping down from the board, the report said, citing sources.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Michael Perry and Christopher Cushing


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