Jet Airways is in talks with the Abu Dhabi based airline, Etihad, for a likely FDI investment. However, even before that happens, Etihad Airways has bought the three Heathrow airport slots of Jet under a sale-and-lease-back agreement for $70 million. Jet Airways will continue to operate the international flights from these slots. Even as these slots have been sold off to Etihad, Jet Airways has moved more aggressively in the domestic market, seeking the government approval for the slots vacated by Kingfisher Airline at Mumbai airport.
It is notable that the government had withdrawn the international flying rights of Kingfisher and even the domestic slots are being vacated due to its financial troubles. Jet has sought to buy six of these slots from Kingfisher. Out of these six slots, three are for the morning and three are for the night time. Further, four out of these are for the domestic routes and the remaining two are for international destinations.
The sale of London airport slots to Etihad signals to the growing bonhomie between the two and this is expected to be a step closer to the final stake sale deal. The shareholding pattern of Jet seems to be preventing the agreement from reaching fructification. This is expected to be settled sooner to pave the way for transfer of shareholding.
Etihad seems to be bullish on the Indian market in the near future, despite its current state of non-profitability. With quite a good number of air traffic between the emirate countries and India and deep economic relations with India, Etihad is looking to garner more revenue share from the traffic by partnering with an airline which is full-service carrier like it and also operate the internationally. The people of the two countries will find it far more convenient to do flight booking to different destinations around the world and travel on tickets of either of these, having more flexibility of choice.