Etihad snaps up Jetís Heathrow slots for $70 m
The Etihad chairmanís comments came at the start of the week when the stake sale deal with Jet Airways was expected to be announced. Etihadís investment was expected to be the first from a foreign airline in India since foreign direct investment rules were relaxed in September 2012.
However, even as the Jet-Etihad deal continues to be in negotiations, Malaysian carrier AirAsia has already submitted a proposal to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for an investment to start a new airline with Tata Sons as partners.
Etihad, which is a relatively young airline launched in 2003, has been on a buying spree in recent years to compete with regional rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways. The Abu Dhabi carrier has taken stakes in Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus of Ireland and raised its share holding in Air Berlin and Air Seychelles.
Top executives of Jet Airways and Etihad had met Indian government officials including civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, commerce minister Anand Sharma and finance minister P Chidambaram in January. A formal deal was expected to be signed after Etihad completed due diligence on Jet Airways in the first week of February.
ďWe are doing our due diligence in the next week. We will present it to our board and take it from there,Ē James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad said on February 4 speaking at a press conference after the airline reported its annual results.
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