Singapore says investigating Etihad-Jet alliance

Singapore competition watchdog has called for submissions to its inquiry into the UAE national carrier’s plan to codeshare on flights between India, Singapore

Singapore’s competition watchdog is investigating Etihad purchase of a 24 percent stake in Indian carrier Jet Airways, which is set to include codesharing on flights between India and Singapore.

The Indian market regulator earlier this year approved the UAE national carrier’s bid to buy into India’s second largest airline, in what is the first foreign investment in the country’s aviation sector under new relaxed regulations.

The deal means the two airlines have expanded their codeshare agreement to 71 services.

The Competition Commission of Singapore on Thursday called for submissions to its inquiry into the alliance, which is says may prevent, restrict or distort competition within Singapore.

The commission highlighted that the alliance would include pricing, route and schedule coordination, and shared marketing, code-sharing, networks, customer service and resourcing decisions.

Etihad and Jet have said the partnership would result in various efficiencies and synergies, including lower administrative costs, sharing of joint resources, better customer services, and more efficient administration of each airline.

Jet reported a record loss in the three months to March, at 21.54 billion rupees ($366.5m).

The airline was without a full-time chief executive from January until May, when it named Cramer Ball as its new CEO, pending regulatory approvals. Ball, an Australian national, previously worked as the CEO of Air Seychelles, another of Etihad’s seven equity partners (Jet would be the eighth).

Etihad CEO James Hogan has described his airline as "a long-term strategic investor and committed to supporting Jet Airways”.

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