Etihad to stay on as partner in Jet Airways: Goyal

Inducts Harsh Mohan as Etihad’s representative on Jet’s board of directors

Mumbai, September 11

Despite rumours to the contrary, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will continue to be a partner in Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways, said at the airline’s annual shareholder meeting. Goyal also announced the induction of Harsh Mohan as Etihad’s representative on Jet’s board of directors.

Mohan is currently the Chief Group Support Services Officer at Etihad Aviation Group. Earlier, James Hogan and James Rigney (former CEO and CFO of Etihad, respectively) were the nominees on Jet’s board. However, they resigned from their posts after announcing in January their intention to step down from the West Asia carrier.

Jet and Etihad have had a three-year partnership, after the latter picked up a 24 per cent stake in the domestic carrier. Goyal said the partnership “continues to deliver synergies across all areas, including network growth, revenue enhancement, operational efficiencies and cost improvement, to the mutual benefit of both airlines...For another year running, Jet Airways, together with Etihad Airways, carried more passengers between India and the Gulf than any other airline.”

The resultant synergies enabled one million passengers to connect between India and North America, Europe, Africa and West Asia over Abu Dhabi, Goyal added.

“Etihad Airways and Jet have captured nearly 20 per cent of the market share to these markets. In addition to seamless connectivity, passengers also derive benefits of reciprocal lounge access, through check-in of baggage, extensive code shares, frequent flier program benefits, including elite tier recognition.”

To expand its international network, Jet has also been driving partnerships with Air France-KLM for the European markets, moved its base from Brussels to Amsterdam and tied up with Delta for the North American market. “The shift to Amsterdam has also seen a three-fold increase in code share access to European points, from 14 to 38 points when compared to the code share access from Brussels and a comprehensive one stop offering to over 220 points in North America by way of code share and interline arrangements. Similarly, guests now have code share and interline access over Amsterdam to 86 points in Europe,” Goyal said.

As Goyal sought to deepen partnerships with Delta, rumours started doing the rounds in the industry of the American airline picking up a stake in Jet. However, Goyal gave no indication of this being correct.

Goyal added that Jet is, financially, running “a tight ship”, maintaining eighth straight quarters of profitability.

The airline also reduced its debt burden by a third over the last two years, lowering it by ₹1,902 crore at the end of FY-17.

He said that while the airline’s revenues grew 2.2 per cent year-on-year to ₹23,407 crore, earnings before tax fell to ₹390 crore on account of higher fuel costs and an increase in salaries to pilots and engineers.

Published on September 11, 2017


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