Jet Airways approaches aviation ministry for Kingfisher Airlines’ overseas routes


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Ahead of a possible deal with Etihad Airways, Naresh Goyal, promoter of Jet Airways on Wednesday approached the aviation ministry to seek more international routes for his airline.

A source said Goyal has put in a written request to the government seeking more foreign routes for Jet Airways. Some of the routes are now available after the ministry cancelled Kingfisher’s flying licence. The move to seek more routes is significant as this will allow Jet to fly passengers to the Middle East for onward travel on Etihad’s network. Jet is in talks with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad for a stake sale, where the latter would part with a minority stake in favour of the Middle-eastern carrier.

Goyal met senior officials at the civil aviation ministry Wednesday evening and has placed written requests for addition of Amsterdam as a brand new European destination to Jet’s existing network.

“If you look at Jet’s balance sheet, you will see that they are more profitable on international operations than on domestic routes. They are increasingly turning more towards JetKonnect model on domestic and diverting capacity for international routes. Aiming for more foreign destinations/routes in that sense is both part of their own growth plan, which is also in line with the Etihad deal,” said Sanjay Bhasin, managing director GoIbibo.com. Jet Airways could not be reached for comment.

In the backdrop of Kingfisher Airlines losing its international slots, Jet Airways has also asked for permission to operate more flights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuwait among others.

“IndiGo has also put in a written request for surrendered Kingfisher Airlines slots. We have not begun considering them so far,” a senior official from the ministry said, declining to divulge details about frequency of flights demanded by either.

On February 25, the government decided to free up grounded carrier Kingfisher Airline’s routes for use by other carriers.

Kingfisher Airlines was allowed to fly the sky of 8 countries namely Bangladesh (14 services per week), Hong Kong (14 services per week), Nepal (7 services per week), Singapore (7 services per week), Sri Lanka (14 services per week + 21 services per week from unlimited 18 destinations), Thailand (21 services per week), UAE Dubai (21 services per week) and UK (7 services per week each from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore).

Last April, with the civil aviation ministry ending Air India’s monopoly over bilateral traffic rights, allowing all Indian carriers to utilize these, Jet Airways sought government permission to add 35 new flights to Germany and seven each to France and Belgium, in addition to seven each to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah and Vietnam.

An equity deal with Etihad will help Jet expand operations and fulfill its ambition to widen international footprint by fund infusion, giving it access to Etihad’s global network

Source: The Economic Times