Etihad hopeful of decision on Jet in next few weeks

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Etihad Airways' chief executive officer James Hogan believes an investment in Indian carrier Jet Airways could be a matter of weeks, should the conditions be satisfactory.

"We are still in discussions with Jet Airways, and over the coming weeks if we are satisfied with the conditions, we could move forward with a minority investment on a similar basis as we have in Air Berlin and Virgin Australia," he says. The airline recently agreed a sale and lease back deal with Jet on three pairs of slots at London Heathrow for $70 million.

Etihad already holds 29% stake in Air Berlin, 10% in Virgin Australia and 3% in Aer Lingus, in addition to a 40% stake in Air Seychelles.

Hogan admits Etihad looked at another Indian carrier, Kingfisher Airlines, in the past but decided not to pursue with the project.

The Indian market is important and there are huge opportunities but the challenge is on the governance level, he says.

"We recently went to India to understand the impact of foreign direct investment. We are working through at the moment," he explains.