From left: Jet Airways Acting CEO Hameed Ali, Etihad president and CEO James Hogan, Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and Etihad CFO James Rigney.
Etihad and Jet Airways have signed a long-awaited agreement that will see Etihad taking a strategic shareholding in the Indian carrier, as well as pumping in additional investment.
Jet made a brief announcement to the Mumbai Stock Exchange Wednesday that the deal had been concluded, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
The agreement will bring expanded codesharing, integrated frequent flyer programs, plus new routes between India and Abu Dhabi. It will also give Etihad a foothold in the fast-expanding Indian travel market.
Under the deal, Etihad will buy more than 27 million new shares in Jet for $379 million, giving it 24% of the latter’s enlarged share capital.
Etihad will also inject $220 million. Part of this includes its Feb. 27 $70 million sale and leaseback purchase of Jet’s three pairs of slots at London Heathrow Airport. Jet continues to operate these slots.
The remaining $150 million will be invested by Etihad through a majority equity investment in Jet Airways’ Jet Privilege frequent flyer program.
Under the strategic partnership, the airlines will gradually expand existing operations and introduce new routes between India and Abu Dhabi, with Jet establishing a Gulf gateway in Abu Dhabi.
Etihad CEO James Hogan said the link-up is “expected to bring immediate revenue growth and cost synergy opportunities, with our initial estimates of a contribution of several hundred million dollars for both airlines over the next five years.
“The Indian market is fundamental to our business model of organic growth partnerships and equity investments. This deal will allow us to compete more effectively in one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world.”
Jet chairman Naresh Goyal described the agreement as a “win-win” arrangement for both parties. “This transaction further strengthens the balance sheet of Jet Airways and, more importantly, underpins future revenue streams, which will accelerate our return to sustainable profitability and liquidity.”
Current estimates predict the Indian market will grow to 42 million travelers over the next five years at a rate of 10% per year.
The carriers expect to find synergies and cost savings in areas such as fleet acquisition, maintenance, product development and training.
They will also explore joint purchasing opportunities for areas such as fuel, spare parts and catering supplies.
Other areas of cooperation will include joint training of pilots, cabin crew and engineers, as well as maintenance of common aircraft types.