Etihad should revise Jet Airways deal
Etihad should revise its deal with India's Jet Airways, the UAE's airline boss said yesterday
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Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, speaking on the sidelines of a defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, said officials would meet Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma to discuss the deal.
Asked if a Jet deal would be signed by March or April, Shaikh Hamed said: “I don’t know... we need to revise it.”
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 per cent stake in Jet for up to $330 million.
Asked if a Jet deal would be finalised soon, Shaikh Hamed said: “It’s too early to decide.”
Shaikh Hamed, who is also managing director of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, did not specify why the deal needs to be revised.
“We need to talk with the Indians about other issues... including this,” he said.
Etihad’s chief executive said this month the Abu Dhabi carrier was conducting due diligence on making an investment and would present the findings to its board. The Jet Airways deal would be the first foreign investment in India’s aviation industry since the government relaxed ownership rules last September.
This allows foreign airlines to buy up to 49 per cent in the country’s domestic carriers, many of which are facing stiff competition and high operating costs.
Shaikh Hamed also dismissed talk of the carrier’s interest in India’s grounded Kingfisher Airlines as “rumours”.
Kingfisher said in December it was in talks with several investors, including Etihad, for a stake sale but those hopes have faded as the indebted airline remains grounded.
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