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Etihad to seek govt support for Jet deal

Agra, Jan. 28: The officials of Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad will meet commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma later this week to obtain the government’s support for picking up a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways.

“They would be meeting me on January 31,” Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of the CII’s Global Partnership Summit here today.

Sources said the issue came up at a meeting between Sharma and UAE’s foreign trade minister Lubna Bint Khalid al Qasimi in Agra, where she is leading a trade and investment delegation.

Negotiations between Jet and Etihad are in the final stages.

The country’s second-largest airline is likely to sell a 24 per cent stake to Etihad for around $300 million.

Recently, Jet Airways informed the BSE that it was in talks with Etihad on a potential investment. In a filing to the BSE on January 3, Jet told the bourse that discussions had “commenced recently pursuant to the liberalised FDI policy”.

Etihad had initially evinced interest in both Jet and Kingfisher. However, the Gulf-based carrier had backed out from talks with the Vijay Mallya-led airline after realising the leveraged nature of Kingfisher’s assets and its other problems.

Sources said the deal with Jet was set to be finalised by the first week of February. “Both companies are sorting out the legal complexities Hopefully, all requirements would be fulfilled in the next three to four days,” a senior official of Jet Airways said.

Jet labour unrest

Labour unrest seems to be brewing in Jet Airways with its engineers wearing black bands to protest an alleged move to freeze salary hikes and the pilots deciding to meet on the same issue shortly.

A section of Jet technicians started a “symbolic” protest by wearing black bands last Friday to protest the “management’s proposed move to freeze wage hike over the next 2-3 years”, sources said.

 
 
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