Second Jet Airways exec quits 'due to Etihad deal'

Abu Dhabi airline accused of forcing top level shake-up as it prepares for 24% stake in Indian carrier

A second top official has resigned from Jet Airways as the Indian airline awaits regulatory approval for Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways’ purchase of a 24 percent stake.

Vice president, commercial strategy and investor relations KG Vishwanath’s resignation follows that of CEO Nikos Kardassis in June.

Kardassis is to be replaced by Air New Zealand former CEO Gary Toomey.

Jet Airways management claim the top level shake-up is being pressured by Etihad, local media have reported.

A third high level employee, Goyal’s wife Anita, has been removed from her position as head of network planning and revenue management and made “advisor to the CEO”.

Meanwhile group executive officer Abdulrahman Albusaidy, an Omani national who is in charge of the Gulf market, has been given wider powers as chief strategic planning officer.

"All these changes are being driven by Etihad," a Jet Airways source was quoted as saying in the Business Standard.

He said more senior resignations were expected as the Gulf airline completes acquisition of its stake. A team of Etihad executives is already working with Jet management in India.

"The executives are here on secondment and participating in strategy meetings in Jet," the source said.

Etihad is awaiting final approval to take over nearly one-quarter of the low cost carrier at a premium, in what will be India’s first foreign investment in its aviation industry after a ban was lifted in September last year.

Etihad also agreed in April to make a $150m investment in Jet's frequent flyer program and to spend $70m buying Jet's three pairs of Heathrow takeoff and landing slots through a sale and leaseback agreement.

The two airlines are planning joint teams for sales, customer services and commercial marketing in India, according to their latest commercial agreement.

There also will be a shake-up of the Jet board, with Etihad’s chief executive James Hogan and finance chief James Rigney to join.

Etihad declined to comment when contacted by Arabian Business.



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