Jet Airways may finally get to fly to the US. The US Department of Transportation is understood to have given a security clearance to Jet Airways, paving the way for the Indian carrier to launch flights to the US. Jet Airways, however, refused to comment on the matter and maintained it was yet to receive any official communication from Washington.
In February 2005, the Indian government had granted approval to the Naresh Goyal-promoted carrier to fly three times a week to New York via Brussles. But allegations by a US namesake that the airline had links with terrorist masterminds like Dawood Ibrahim and outfits such as Al-Qaeda had put the brakes on the Indian carrier's American plans.
"The Department of Transportation has given the economic authority to Jet Airways. This means that the airline has been cleared to fly to the US after it works out the operational details like flight timings, schedules, slots and other issues," the PTI quoted a US Embassy spokesperson as saying. The spokesperson added that this was the "first tangible benefit" coming out of the 'Open Sky' agreement between Delhi and Washington.
The security clearance follows a green signal from the US State Department, which probed the US-based company's complaint.
On Monday, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had said that procedures had to be followed.
"Issues are being resolved between the governments," he said.
Jet Airways is expecting the delivery of Boeing 777-300s in April next year. The airline has signed an agreement with Boeing for acquiring 10 777-300s and with Airbus Industrie for an equal number of A330-200s.
Recently, Jet Airways sought the Civil Aviation Ministry's clearance to fly to New York and San Francisco from the summer of 2007. It also asked for permission to fly to Toronto, via Hong Kong and via Dusseldorf, from next year, and to China.
Other destinations it plans to fly to in the near future are South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Rome, Zurich, Munich and Frankfurt.