Jet Airways Eyes More Routes Overseas

Monday, 25th March 2013 at 06:35am

Jet Airways' founder and Chairman, Naresh Goyal, is seeking the approval from the aviation ministry of his application to expand his airline's network by mounting more international routes from India.

Jet Airways and the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways are rumored to have in serious negotiation for a possible stakes acquisition by the Gulf carrier.

The requisition made by the founder himself to the ministry was confirmed by a reliable source. The airline's request possibly would be easily granted as entitlements allocated to the doomed Kingfisher Airlines are now made available after it failed to renew its license upon its expiration, thus revoking all its rights.

This network expansion would enable Jet Airways' passengers to the Middle East to connect onto Etihad's extensive route network from its hub in Abu Dhabi. The deal should conform to the current aviation policy on FDI in the country as amended by the Indian government last year by increasing the foreign company's ownership of a local airline to 49% maximum.

Mr. Goyal is reportedly interested to open a new route to Amsterdam, its third destination in Europe. He personally met with senior officials from the aviation ministry and handed his written request.

Jet Airways is also taking advantage of the available slots left vacant by Kingfisher Airlines after the government took back all the latter's rights to fly following the cancellation and eventual termination of its commercial operations.

Thus, the airline is now eying to fly to these destinations and has asked permission from the ministry to grant them to open new routes to these lucrative destinations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.

Early on, IndiGo, India's largest airline in terms of market share, asked the ministry for more entitlements previously allocated to Kingfisher Airlines.

The government has recently taken back all entitlements assigned to Kingfisher following its failure to renew its license after its expired on December 31, 2012.

Kingfisher Airlines was permitted to fly to 8 countries before its demise. These countries include Sri Lanka (total of 35 flights per week), Thailand (21 weekly flights), UAE (21 flights/week), UK (7/week each from Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai), Hong Kong (14/week), Bangladesh (14/week), Nepal (7/week) and Singapore (7/week).

In April last year, the country's aviation ministry allowed other local carriers to participate in the country's bilateral talks on traffic rights with foreign governments. Air India used to have the sole rights to engage in the bilateral agreements with other governments as India's representative.

Jet Airways, moreover, is asking the government to allow it to add 35 more flights to Germany, 7 more flights each to France and Belgium, 7 additional flights each to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Vietnam.

If the deal with Eithad would push through, Jet will be able to expand operations and exploit Etihad's extensive network, enabling it (Jet) to extend its network globally as well.

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