The dramatic entry of Etihad Airways into Indian aviation through its deal with Jet Airways could mark the beginning of good times for the Indian air traveller.
Industry experts believe the deal would be bad for other Indian carriers — especially Air India — which will be forced to match fares offered by Jet-Etihad. Indian private airport operators, who have invested billions of dollars to create new facilities in the hope that India will have its own airport hub, would also be hurt as Jet-Etihad would make Abu Dhabi its hub.
“The consumer will have a ball. With capacity hiked by almost four times, the demand is much lesser than supply and Jet-Etihad is likely to offer rock bottom fares,” said Rajji Rai, advisor to the Travel Agents Association of India.
“At present, Emirates is referred to as India’s national carrier for international traffic,” he said. “Jet-Etihad will take traffic from India into Abu Dhabi, and we could see the hub shift there from Dubai.”
“The Etihad deal is likely to seriously impact international traffic out of India in favour of Jet and will further weaken Air India,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
Experts feel that other carriers will be forced to get foreign investors on board or be prepared to perish.