Jet Air to lease another plane to Etihad as it flies back into the green

Jet Airways, India's second-largest airline by market share, says it is likely to lease one more Boeing 777-300 ER plane to its partner, the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.

Etihad holds a 24-per cent stake in the Naresh Goyal-led Jet Air, and has already taken on lease six planes from the Indian carrier.

"We may lease one more Boeing 777 aircraft to Etihad on a short-term basis," Jet Airways vice-president Gautam Acharya said during a post-earnings analyst call from Mumbai.

The airline has leased out nine aircraft altogether to Etihad and Turkish Airlines - "Four Boeing 777-300ERs and two A330s are leased to Etihad, while three Boeing 777-300ERs are with Turkish Airlines," he said.

One of the three aircraft leased to Turkish Airlines is coming back, and this may go to Etihad under a new lease, Acharya said.

The Mumbai-based full service carrier has 113 planes in its fleet. Of these, 26 are owned by the carrier and 87 are leased.

Jet Airways cut down its consolidated loss by as much as 95.7 per cent to Rs43 crore in the quarter to September 2014 on the back of a Rs305-crore one-time income from the sale of its loyalty programme to Etihad and better operational efficiency.

Besides, on a standalone basis, it flew back into the green with a profit of Rs69.82 crore against a net loss of Rs891 crore in the year-ago period.

The operational restructuring initiatives with route and network rationalisation are already yielding dividends on the domestic and international network, the airline's chief executive, Cramer Ball, said at the Q2 earnings announcement.

The organic network expansion coupled with enhanced global connectivity through alliances and code-share pacts had also helped in increasing international passenger traffic, Ball said.