Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is in the final stages of buying a stake in India’s Jet Airways, a senior Indian government source told reporters.
The deal is likely to take place in 10 days, Reuters reported, quoting the source.
Speculations about the Etihad-Jet deal have been in the media for many months now.
In December, an Indian government official had confirmed that Etihad was planning to buy a stake either in Jet Airways or rival Kingfisher Airlines.
A month earlier, a government source told reporters: “The talks are on. This is more or less final. It may take around a month and half.
“This deal is not just about investment but also technology and partnership in many other ways,” the source added.
Any deal would be the first since India amended its rules in September to allow foreign airlines to buy stakes of up to 49 per cent in the country’s local carriers.
Etihad, currently on an expansion spree, recently bought stakes in Virgin Australia and Irish airline Aer Lingus. The airline already has stakes in airberlin and Air Seychelles.
Speaking to Reuters in October 2012, Etihad CEO James Hogan confirmed that the airline was seeking further acquisitions.
“Possibly one or two (partnerships) more and that will be it,” he said.
“We are very clear that India and Asia represent an opportunity,” he added. “We get a number of options [from Indian carriers]. It has to meet our formula. We are in no rush. We have to make sure that it makes sense from a network, operation and revenue perspective.”
Indian carrier Jet Airways has also been expanding services on its Gulf-India routes in recent months. The airlines launched a new Mumbai-Sharjah route from October 18 last year, its sixth daily flight to the UAE from Mumbai.
Jet also announced that it would resume services to Kuwait and Bahrain from Kochi.
The airline, which flies to 74 destinations worldwide, currently operates four
daily services to Dubai and one daily service to Abu Dhabi from Mumbai.