Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Crisis-hit Jet Airways is still dealing with the baggage from the Air Sahara deal

Among the many things at stake at beleaguered private Indian airline Jet Airways is the legacy of its promoter, Naresh Goyal.
Goyal, who established Jet over 25 years ago, is a battle-scarred veteran of India’s highly competitive aviation sector, which has seen the rise and fall of many entrepreneurs. Despite long periods in the red, Goyal’s skills in negotiating tough corners and striking beneficial deals has kept Jet airborne, if not soaring.
For instance, in 2005, when the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, led by an ambitious liquor baron, barged its way into a still nascent Indian market, Goyal dialled back by lapping up smaller rival Air Sahara. The deal was hanging fire for many months and was even called off initially in 2006. But a persistent Goyal revived his attempt in 2007 and managed to bring the Sahara India Pariwar-owned airline into Jet Airways’ fold, consolidating the market leadership it enjoyed at the time.
Much later, in 2012, when Indian aviation was opened up to foreign direct investment, Goyal again used his networking skills to rope in the deep-pocketed Etihad Airways as an investor. After negotiating many roadblocks, the deal went through in 2013, and today, the Abu Dhabi-based airline owns a 24% stake in Jet.
09/10/18 Kamalika Ghosh/Scroll.in