India’s Jet Airways, which has been facing turbulence from rising oil prices and a depreciating rupee, and is struggling even to pay salaries, is now facing a takeover bid by the Tata Group.
The salt-to-software conglomerate, however, wants complete control over Jet Airways and the exit of its current promoters, the Naresh Goyal family. It has rejected the proposal for part-ownership or joint venture, the Economic Times reports.
However, a Jet Airways representative told a media agency that the news report was speculative.
Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and his family currently own 51% of the airline and in 2013 Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways picked up a 24% stake. A few months ago there were reports that Etihad might sell off its entire stake by the end of this year, but it issued a denial.
Tata Group currently operates two airlines in India – Vistara with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia India with the Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia Bhd.
Overall, the Indian aviation sector is in a bind. On one hand domestic air-passenger traffic has grown by at least 16% annually over the past decade, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, but this growth has been largely profitless, as intense competition and passenger price sensitivity have forced airlines against raising fares.