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Singapore investigates Etihad Jet tie-up

SINGAPORE: A week after the Tata Group and Air Asia launched their new joint venture with services to Goa from Bangalore, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has begun proceedings to determine the efficacy of another Indian joint venture between Etihad and Jet Airways.

Etihad Jet AirwaysIn November last year Etihad purchased a 24 percent stake in Mumbai-based Jet Airways for nearly US$330 million that included three pairs of slots at London's Heathrow airport.

The CCS says following notification on June 06 by an unnamed party, it is investigating possible market distortion by the alliance on services between Singapore and other destinations under section 34 of the country's competition Act "which prohibits agreements ...which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within Singapore."

According to the CCS the Jet/Etihad alliance covers pricing, route and schedule coordination, marketing, code-sharing, networks, customer service and resourcing decisions. The watchdog has set a July 11 deadline for comments.

Meanwhile the Tata Group has been given the green light by the Indian government for its joint-venture with Singapore Airlines to launch a full-service airline in September using A320-200 aircraft from Delhi to Mumbai, Goa, Patna, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Hyderabad and Bangalore. An operating certificate is expected in July.

Notwithstanding the Etihad investment, Jet Airways is protesting the Tata-SIA tie up on the grounds that foreign airlines can invest only in existing ones and not start-ups. Last month a similar protest against Tata and Air Asia by Jet Airways, GoAir and Spice Jet was dismissed by India's aviation regulator.

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