Ajit Singh defends 20.58 billion Jet-Etihad deal

New Delhi, July 5 (ANI): Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said here today that the 20.58 billion Jet-Etihad deal was a well -informed decision considering the civil aviation sectors of India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE. Abu Dhabi is the richest emirate in UAE, so considering our relationship, considering investment and trade possibility, again looking at the situation of our civil aviation sector and their civil aviation, and we decided to go ahead ," said Singh.

Singh also said that they decided to go forward with this deal as Abu Dhabi offered facilities which Qatar airways and Emirates did not offer.

"In this case, Jet and Etihad are at power, plus other airlines are also there and they have given added facility, that in Abu Dhabi all thee airlines who fly from India, will be able to get a bigger plan to ply to world destinations, which Qatar and Emirates have not allowed us," said Singh.

"After Kingfishers', if I may call it demise, Air India or Jet doesn't have the capacity, to take care of all those passengers. There are many destinations in the world where they just don't go, all of African continent jet use to fly, they are not flying anymore. Air India a long time ago, I remember, use to go to Africa, they are not going there anymore, so therefore we have to do bilateral, we know that. However much some people dislike, but the fact remains that we have to worry about the air travellers," said Singh.

Objections to the deal were raised by some opposition leaders, after which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh communicated the concerns to the Aviation, Commerce and Finance Ministries .

Etihad, in April, agreed to acquire a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways for 370 million, giving it a bigger foothold in the fast-growing Indian market.

Etihad's investment is the first by an overseas operator in an Indian airline since ownership rules were relaxed and this has provided Jet with a global partner .

The Indian government allowed foreign carriers to buy stakes of up to 49 percent in local carriers in September 2012 .

(ANI)

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