Etihad may exit Jet Airway, sell entire 24% stake by December: report

Abu Dhabi, UAE-based Etihad Airways PJSC may exit Jet Airways (India) Ltd by selling its entire stake in the Indian carrier by December, reports quoting aviation think tank CAPA said on Friday.

Etihad is expected to sell its entire 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways by December this year, consultancy firm CAPA-Centre for Aviation said.

''CAPA research indicates Etihad may divest its 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, possibly by Q3 of FY2019. This could lead to a rationalisation of capacity between India and the Gulf, particularly Abu Dhabi,'' CAPA India said.

The report is based on Ethihad's diminished involvement in Jet Airways' day-to-day operations.

Etihad, however, denied any such plan and said the report is mere ''speculation''.

The sale, possibly in the third quarter of the next fiscal year, ''could lead to a rationalisation of capacity between India and the Gulf, particularly Abu Dhabi,'' the Sydney-based consultant said in a tweet.

Speculation has been strife for some time now that Jet Airways is looking for another partner amidst rumours of Etihad's exit, although Jet chairman Naresh Goyal had always denied any such possibility.

Goyal had also denied Jet was looking for another partner, despite news of talks with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines with whom Jet has commercial ties. Goyal, however, has been in contact with all these airlines for a stake sale, according to reports.

In fact, earlier reports had quoted Air France-KLM chairman Jean-Marc Janaillac not ruling out a strategic investment in Jet, although he denied any immediate plans.

Etihad had acquired 24 per cent equity in Jet Airways in April 2013 for around Rs 2,069 crore. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier owns 24 per cent in Jet and half of its miles rewarding unit Jet Privilege.

It had bought flight slots in London from Jet, which then leased those from Etihad. It has also wetleased - with crew - several widebodied planes from Jet.

As things stand any disengagement by the two partners would be a more complicated process than their alliance.