Before Etihad Airways deal, Jet Airways seeks 10K more seats to Abu Dhabi
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In a clear indication that it is laying the ground for its proposed deal with Etihad Airways, Jet Airways has asked the civil aviation ministry for 10,000 additional weekly seats between Indian cities and Abu Dhabi, Etihad's headquarters.
A senior civil aviation ministry official said Jet has applied for an increase in its quota of seats from Delhi and Mumbai to Abu Dhabi and permissions for new flights from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Ahmedabad to the UAE city.
Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal met civil aviation ministry officials including aviation secretary K N Srivastava on Wednesday in this connection, the official said.
Under the bilateral rights agreement between India and Abu Dhabi, Indian carriers presently have 13,330 seats available per week and use 12,650 of those seats. Jet is estimated to account for roughly 30 per cent of these 12,650 seats, and its request for 10,000 more seats amounts to an increase of 75 per cent in the total seat quota available.
"Some permissions by the airline are for the summer schedule, which will start from April, and the rest are for the winter schedule that starts from the end of October," the official said, referring to Jet's plans.
To agree to Jet's demand, India will have to negotiate for more seats with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the official added. "The airline has made a request and that needs to be examined but we will have to renegotiate our bilateral agreement with Abu Dhabi before allowing them," he said.
Approval of Jet's request will allow the airline to route a large part of its international traffic through Abu Dhabi, which is Etihad's base. There was no immediate response from a Jet Airways' spokesperson to a request for comment.
The Jet proposal fits into the broad contours of the deal it is negotiating with Etihad. The Indian carrier is expected to sell a 24 per cent stake for around Rs 1,600 crore to Etihad. This will give Jet access to Etihad's network and also make aviation turbine fuel available at much cheaper rates.
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