The Union government is soon to decide on the sale of Air IndiaÂ’s five Boeing 777-200 Long Range airplanes to Etihad Airways. The Union Cabinet was scheduled to hold a meeting on December 26 in this regard.
The Union Civil Aviation Ministry is likely to send a note this week to the Cabinet Secretariat, seeking a post-facto approval for the seat-sharing pact between Etihad Airways and Jet Airways where India offered an additional 36,670 seats on flights between the two countries over the next three years. The bilateral agreement was signed on the same day in April when the Jet-Etihad deal was announced.
According to sources in the union aviation ministry, the deal between Jet Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways may be clinched in a month. The government is expected to assuage the concerns of Etihad Airways on investor protection and help both the companies finalise the deal soon, sources
India's second largest airline by market share, Jet Airways has leased a wide body aircraft along with 60 of its cabin crew to Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways, a move that indicates a burgeoning partnership, even before the two airlines ink an equity stake sale. In aviation terms, a wet lease of an aircraft is an arrangement whereby the lessor, in this instance Jet, provides crew, maintenance and aircraft for a consideration.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on March 14 said neither Jet Airways nor Etihad Airways has approached the government with a formal investment proposal. Sharma said that the government has so far not received a formal proposal from Etihad for investing in Jet Airways. Jet has been in talks with Etihad to sell 24 per cent stake for the past few months for around $300 million.
For Indian aviation industry that has always been inherently vibrant, last week was unusually eventful for aviation. It began with the news that a sale of stake by Jet Airways, India's second-largest carrier by passengers carried, to Abu Dhabi's fast-growing airline, Etihad Airways, will be delayed.
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways will finalise a deal to buy a stake in Jet Airways on January 25, according to a television report. If it materialised, it would become the first such investment by a foreign carrier in an airline in India since rules were relaxed last year. A deal may be announced as early as January 25 or by the first week of February, sources were quoted as revealed.