Etihad closer to deal with Jet Airways
Such a deal would support the Indian carrier’s efforts to woo foreign investors to help cope with fierce competition and high costs in the Indian market.
Etihad, launched in 2003, is on a buying spree to compete with regional rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways. The Gulf carrier has taken stakes in Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus and raised its shareholding in Air Berlin and Air Seychelles.
“We are doing our due diligence (on Jet Airways) in the next week. We will present it to our board and take it from there,” CEO James Hogan said at a press conference.
The Jet Airways deal would be the first foreign investment into India’s aviation industry since the government relaxed ownership rules in September last year.
This allows foreign airlines to buy up to 49 percent in the country’s domestic carriers, many of which are facing stiff competition and high operating costs.
Hogan said he had met with senior Indian aviation officials and ministers last week to understand the new rules of India’s foreign direct investment scheme.
“We also wanted to understand the issues that have impacted Indian civil aviation, how they think this will change in the coming years,” he said.
The terms of the possible deal have not been disclosed, but a government source said earlier this month Etihad was in talks to pick up a 24-percent stake in Jet for up
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