Jet-Sahara merger worries carriers

Updated on Jan 23, 2006 12:43 PM IST

The emergence of a monolith airline following the takeover of Air Sahara by Jet Airways has posed a serious challenge to new and upcoming carriers.

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None | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

The emergence of a monolith airline following the takeover of Air Sahara by Jet Airways has posed a serious challenge to new and upcoming carriers, some of whom recently decided to forge a united front to lobby with the government for a level-playing field.

The issues affecting these new and upcoming airlines relate primarily to parking bays, flight routes, time-slots for take-off and landing and other infrastructural problems, which would ultimately hit their revenues.

While Jet-Sahara combine would account for nearly half the domestic traffic, it is followed by public sector Indian with about 37 per cent of market share. These two entities together control over 80 per cent parking bays.

Industry sources say the top officials of small airlines like Kingfisher, GoAir and upcoming airline IndiGo, met a day after the Jet-Sahara deal was signed and decided to jointly move the government on these matters.

However, low-cost carrier Air Deccan has tied up with Jet Airways to explore operational synergies in various areas like ticketing, transfers to Jet's international flights, ground handling and engineering.

The synergy between Jet Airways and Air Deccan was worked out about a week before the former signed the deal to buyout Air Sahara.

Meanwhile, the Sahara Group has decided to keep out a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and four helicopters from the Jet deal, which is only for 27 leased aircraft, sources said.

The BBJ and the four choppers -- two Eurocopters and two Dauphins -- would be used by the Sahara Group for charter operations, they said, adding that these aircraft were left out of the 500 million dollar deal with Jet Airways.

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