Friday, November 17, 2006


Jet gets nod for flights to USAdd to Clippings
[ 17 Nov, 2006 0107hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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NEW DELHI: After 18 months of waiting on the tarmac, Naresh Goyal's Jet Airways on Thursday finally got America's green signal for mounting flights between India and US. The US department of transportation (DoT) has granted Jet the economic authority to begin scheduled flights to US.

With this approval in place, US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) will conduct a formal audit of Jet's pilots and crew, following which the airline can cruise into the American skies, sources said. Besides, Jet will now have to work on getting the operational details like aircraft and flight schedules approved before its debut in the American skies.

"The DoT has given the economic authority to Jet Airways. This means that airline has been cleared to fly to the US after it works out the operational details like flight timings, schedules, slots and other issues," a US Embassy spokesperson said. The official also termed it the "first tangible benefit" emerging out of the Open Sky agreement between India and US. A Jet Airways spokesperson said: "We haven't received any formal intimation about the clearance." However, sources pointed out that Jet will now be able to mount flights to US from the summer of 2007.

Jet has already sought slots to operate flights on the Mumbai-Brussels-New York and Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco routes from the second half of 2007. The DoT approval removes a major stumbling block for Jet, which had initially proposed to start flights to US in the summer of 2005.

The plans were grounded after an American namesake, Jet Airways Inc, alleged that Jet had connections with the underworld and al-Qaida. But the DoT approval now means that all charges against the airline have been dropped, enabling Jet to start flights to US.

These flights would be operated by new aircraft that Jet will start inducting from early 2007. Jet Airways had last year signed $2.5-billion purchase agreements with Airbus and Boeing for 10 A330-200s and 10 Boeing 777-300ER jets. The deliveries for these aircraft are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2007.

The approval comes just days after aviation minister Praful Patel stated that the clearances were being unnecessarily delayed.

He said Jet has been security cleared by India and has been designated as an international carrier.


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