While neither Etihad or Jet have officially confirmed the speculations yet, recent news reports stated that Etihad Airways will buy a 24% stake in Jet Airways (India) Ltd. for about 16 billion rupees ($297 million) in a deal likely to be announced as early as this week, a senior official at India’s civil aviation ministry said Monday.
“I would believe the deal is as good as done,” the official told The Wall Street Journal.
India’s commerce minister, Anand Sharma, said he will meet a delegation of Etihad executives in “a couple of days.” A statement issued by the minister didn’t say why the executives are meeting him.
A senior executive at Jet Airways, India’s second-largest airline by market share, declined to comment. An Etihad spokeswoman couldn’t be reached for comment.
The report also stated that the likely deal will make Jet Airways the first beneficiary of a rule change last year that allowed foreign airlines to buy stakes of up to 49% in Indian carriers. It may also spawn other such agreements involving foreign airlines, which weren’t previously allowed to own stakes in local carriers.
Budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd. has recently said it was in preliminary talks with foreign carriers for a stake sale.
IndiGo, the local market leader owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., is in talks for an alliance with U.K. carrier British Airways, three people familiar with the discussions said last week. British Airways’ parent, International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, and IndiGo, however, denied any talks for an investment.