Etihad-backed Jet Airways to order Boeing jets

Confirmation comes weeks after reports it is eying up to 100 new jets

Jet Airways, the Indian carrier in which Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways bought a 24 percent stake last month, is planning to order new aircraft in a bid to compete with AirAsia which is set to enter the Indian market this year.

Jet is looking to place an order for Boeing 737 aircraft, K.G. Vishwanath, the Mumbai-based carrier’s vice president of commercial strategy, told analysts in a conference call this week, according to the Bloomberg News Agency.

The news confirms a report earlier this month which claimed the Indian carrier was set to use its new financial backing from the UAE to order more than 100 new planes at next month’s Paris Air Show.

India’s largest listed carrier will buy 50 737 MAX and about ten 777-300ER from US manufacturer Boeing and 50 A320neos from French rival Airbus, according to a report by Sydney-based consultancy firm CAPA Centre for Aviation.

“This represents the emergence of a new Jet Airways in the aftermath of the investment from Etihad,” CAPA said. “Until recently the carrier was unable to order aircraft because export credit agencies were concerned about its leverage.”

Last month Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways bought a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways for around $379m. The investment was the first by an overseas operator in an existing Indian carrier since the country relaxed ownership rules in September to allow foreign carriers to buy up to 49 percent in local airlines, which face stiff competition and high operating costs.

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