India’s Jet Airways slumps following Etihad bid report

Shares in Indian budget carrier Jet Airways, down 70 percent in the past year, tumbled again yesterday after doubts were raised over a bid by Etihad. (Reuters)
Updated 14 May 2019
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India’s Jet Airways slumps following Etihad bid report

  • Jet owes vast sums to its lessors, pilots, fuel suppliers and other parties, stopped all flights from April 17
  • The move followed refusal by its lenders to extend more funds to keep the carrier flying

BENGALURU, India: Shares of Jet Airways Ltd. fell as much as 11.4 percent on Monday after media reports said a buyout offer from Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways was non-binding and might not guarantee a deal for the struggling Indian carrier.

Etihad, which owns a stake of about 24 percent in Jet, submitted a bid for the airline, representatives of the State Bank of India (SBI) unit overseeing the sale of the stricken carrier said on Friday. 

That had raised hopes of a bailout for cash-strapped Jet, which has about $1.2 billion in bank debt.

The Mint newspaper said on Monday that Etihad wanted a commitment from banks on additional loans once it infuses equity into the company. The Middle Eastern carrier had not been able to find a local partner and lenders may need to take an 80 percent cut on their outstanding loans to Jet Airways, the newspaper said, citing banking sources. Shares of the carrier, which have tumbled almost 70 percent over the past year, were down 5 percent as of 4:45 a.m. GMT.

Jet, which owes vast sums to its lessors, pilots, fuel suppliers and other parties, stopped all flights from April 17 after its lenders refused to extend more funds to keep the carrier flying.

SBI also received two unsolicited, non-binding bids, the bank said on Friday. Jet and SBI were not immediately available for comment.


British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

Updated 23 May 2019
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British Airways to resume Pakistan flights next week after a decade

  • BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad
  • BA will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

ISLAMABAD: British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next week a decade after it suspended operations following a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian country.

BA halted service to Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital Islamabad that took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.

Security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people, reviving Pakistan as a destination for tourist and investors.

“The final touches are coming together for the airline’s return ahead of the first flight on Sunday June 2,” British Airways said in a statement. It will launch a three-per-week service to London Heathrow, it said.

“We’re on board,” Pakistani Civil Aviation spokeswoman Farah Hussain said about the flights resumption.

BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, will begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its ageing fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.

Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.

Islamabad has been running international advertising campaigns to rejuvenate its tourism sector, which was wiped out by Islamist violence that destabilised the country following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

“We hope customers in both the UK and Pakistan will enjoy the classically British service we offer, with thoughtful bespoke touches,” Andrew Brem, Chief Commercial Officer at British Airways, said in BA’s statement.

BA said there will be a halal meal option in every cabin and the airline would also ensure sauces in every meal do not contain alcohol or pork.