Report: Delta Negotiating 24% Ownership of India’s Jet Airways

Delta is reportedly in talks with Jet Airways to take a 24% stake in the Indian airline. Jet Airways and Delta are already partners.

  • This will put the lie to the claim in their pathetic video that they lack access to the Indian market.

  • It will put them alongside Etihad as significant owners of the carrier. Reportedly Etihad would infuse additional cash as well as part of the deal.

    Sources privy to the development tell CNBC-TV18 that the stake sale will happen likely via issue of fresh equity in order to infuse fresh funds in Jet Airways.

    Jet plans to raise around Rs 2,000 crore from this stake sale.

    For this stake sale to go through, Jet Airway’s will require Etihad’s nod and post the sale Etihad may infuse funds to maintain its stake at 24 percent.

  • Delta has no problem benefiting from Etihad’s “subsidized” bailouts, for instance Delta shares revenue across the Atlantic with Alitalia which was bailed out by and had Etihad as a significant owner.

Jet Airways Boeing 777 Business Class

Last month Jet Airways already announced an expansion of codeshares with Delta and Air France KLM.

Delta is a shrewd player, and while it’s ‘returned cash to shareholders’ through dividends and buy backs it hasn’t seen reducing share count as its only path to share price growth. It has taken significant stakes in airlines around the world like Virgin Atlantic, Gol, Aeromexico, and China Eastern. That’s its path to becoming a growth company when the U.S. market has limited opportunities — other than perhaps Seattle though even there they may have tapped much of their opportunity.

Jet Airways offers an underexploited option for transatlantic business class awards using Delta SkyMiles or American AAdvantage miles. Delta ownership could stymie the American partnership.