The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jet jumps ahead in race for US skies

New Delhi, Feb. 18: Jet Airways is on song: it has snapped up the rights to fly to New York thrice a week via Brussels.

The government's announcement capped a day of celebration for the Naresh Goyal-owned private airline, which saw its public issue of 1.72 crore shares oversubscribed more than twice over minutes after it opened this morning.

Jet will launch the flights to the US in the summer schedule, which opens in April. Last month, it had bagged the rights to fly a daily flight to London and to Asean hotspots like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

State-run Air-India has also been given in-principle permission to fly to San Francisco via Frankfurt.

A-I also plans to fly Toronto via Birmingham, South Africa via Mauritius and Sydney via Singapore. However, these flights have yet to be cleared.

Officials said Indian Airlines and Air Sahara had not formally applied for rights to fly to the US, though IA had initially indicated its interest.

IA, which has not been allowed to fly beyond the Gulf and Southeast Asia, is still in talks with the ministry to compete in sectors where A-I does not fly or in sectors where the main fight is with another airline. It contends it will be able to stem passengers from flying competing airlines.

While Jet officials refused to comment on when they would launch the New York operations, the airline has drawn up plans to hire wide-bodied aircraft on this route.

Earlier this week, Jet decided to lease up to three wide-bodied aircraft for its long distance, high density route flights. It will have to choose between Boeing 777 and 747, on the one hand, and Airbus A330 and A340, on the other.

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