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India minister says confident Jet Airways' problems will be solved

Christian Fernsby |
India's new civil aviation minister said on Friday he is confident that problems at grounded Jet Airways Ltd will be solved, in the government's first comments on the debt-laden carrier since it was reelected last month.

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"(We are) very confident we can solve the problems at the now defunct carrier," Hardeep Singh Puri said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi, in comments widely interpreted as referring to Jet.

Massive debt and suffocating price competition forced what was once India's biggest private-sector airline to halt operations in April at the cost of thousands of jobs, and resulting in higher airfares across the industry.

Puri has assumed office at a time of distress in areas of Indian aviation. Last year, the government unsuccessfully sought a buyer for money-losing state-owned carrier Air India Ltd .

"We have made mistakes in civil aviation in the past which we need to correct," Puri said.

Jet's share price was 9% lower in early afternoon trade. The stock sunk in the last two trading sessions after India's largest stock exchange limited speculative trading in the firm.

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