Air India, national interest factored in for nod to Jet-Etihad deal: Siddeshwara

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 12 2014, 02:40am hrs
Air India's concerns, the prospect of global connectivity and national economic interests were taken into account when the government approved the Jet-Etihad deal, Lok Sabha was informed today.

"Primacy of the national carrier has been retained as traffic rights are allocated to other carriers only after considering the operational requirements of Air India," Minister of State for Civil Aviation GM Siddeshwara said in reply to a question.

He said the concerns raised by stakeholders, including Air India, were considered at appropriate forums.

After taking these concerns into account, the passengers' interest in having more connectivity to new overseas destinations and the overall economic interests of India, an MoU was signed between the governments of India and UAE (Abu Dhabi) to enhance air traffic entitlements in a phased manner, he said.

The Indian private carrier sold 24 per cent of its post- issue paid up equity share capital to Etihad Airways, which was approved by the FIPB in October, 2013.

To another question, the minister said that FIPB had also granted three joint venture proposals with foreign airlines -- Jet-Etihad, AirAsia India and Tata-SIA, which has submitted its application for the grant of Air Operator Permit to launch a scheduled Indian carrier.

Tata-SIA, which announced 'Vistara' as the brand name of their JV today, would be entitled to commence global operations after five years of domestic flying and a 20-plane fleet, Siddeshwara said.

Asked about loss-making airports, the minister said there were 93 of them, which have posted losses over the last three years.