Etihad close to completing Jet Airways due diligence

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Gulf carrier Etihad Airways expects to complete its due diligence on Jet Airways in the next week, ahead of a decision on whether to take a stake in the Indian carrier.

Jet Airways announced at the start of the year that it is holding equity talks with Etihad. While no details have been disclosed, sources told Flightglobal in December that a stake of 24% was under discussion.

Speaking at the airline's results conference on 4 February, Etihad chief executive James Hogan confirmed: "We were in India last week [meeting Indian government officials] to understand the new rules covering foreign direct investment." India last year lifted the cap on foreign ownership of local carriers to 49%.

Hogan adds that the Gulf carrier is also seeking to understand more about the issues which have caused challenges for India's local carriers in recent years, as well as the Indian Government's plans to address these.

"[We will be] completing due diligence in the next week and will present it to our board. Then we will present a view," he says.

Etihad already has stakes in Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Virgin Australia as part of its equity partner strategy. It has identified India - where it already has a strong network - as a key market of interest.