Exclusive chat with Dr. Subramanian Swamy on Jet-Etihad deal

Jet-Etihad deal, if passed has huge ramifications for India's aviation industry.

October 27, 2017

Supreme Court to hear Subramanian Swamy’s plea in 8 weeks

The Economic Times reported today that a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the BJP leader that a Parliamentary committee shared his view on the bilateral agreement between India and the UAE on increasing the number of flights.

Earlier, the court had asked Swamy to file an amended plea, seeking to quash the Jet-Etihad alliance, by also challenging the bilateral air services agreement between India and the UAE.

The court had in March last year asked Swamy to implead other airlines as parties to the list as they may also get affected if the court decided either in favor or against the Jet-Etihad deal.

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Etihad Backgrounder

In an exclusive chat with us, Dr. Subramanian Swamy shared the details on how the Jet-Etihad deal was modified to pacify the Emir of Abu Dhabi, who was livid at having given a bribe of $1 billion to get a 2G license (which was subsequently cancelled by the Supreme Court). With this case too in the court, will Dr. Swamy be able to save the aviation industry of India? Some of the fears expressed in this interview are real and it is sad that the common public is not being made aware of the enormity of the consequences of this deal. This is a MUST WATCH video!

Complete transcript:

Dr.Subramanian Swamy’s take on Jet-Etihad Deal:

Jet-Etihad deal in simple words is this, the Govt. of India under the UPA relaxed the rule of no FDI by foreign airlines in Indian airlines to save 24% that can be infused. A mediator of jet proposed that Etihad should invest in it 24% in jet airways. The real story behind that is the Amir of Abu Dhabi was very upset with Govt. of India and this is attested by a written letter by an Indian ambassador to our then Govt. The letter is been produced in the Supreme Court by me in which ambassador says that Amir doesn’t want to have anything in India, doesn’t want to invest a dollar in India. It is because of the fact that he lost 1 billion dollars when the 2G spectrum scam litigation that was initiated by me in the Supreme Court.

The licenses for the spectrum were cancelled after that it had been issued and although it was issued for only 200 million dollars, however, the Amir claims that he lost one billion dollars which means the rest of it might be used for bribes and he was very angry. To mollify him three ministers wrote to the Government of UAE that will make good some other way. The technique they bought is the project under the cover of the Jet-Etihad, they said that as of the date when the agreement was signed for the Jet-Etihad the day before ministers met in Abu Dhabi and agreed. They said that instead of the 8000 seats per week being flown from Etihad from India to abroad, they will be allowed to fly over a period of three years ninety thousand seats; seats means the number of passenger seats. The reason we are using seats because some planes are small and some are large, hence it is simple to describe it in terms of passengers move and therefore the seats 90,000 seats per week.

It means the entire lucrative of Indo-Arab flights will go to Etihad and that means Air India is finished & all the private Indian airlines are finished. The entire thing would be taken and what would happen is that Etihad is not going to fly directly to America or Europe. They would go land in Abu Dhabi and from Abu Dhabi, you will have to change planes and fly out to America and Europe that means Indian Airport which is gigantically built, they will all become feeder airports for the Etihad. They would be able to take passengers from Madras, Hyderabad, Bombay, Delhi, Lucknow & Amritsar everywhere they can fly in and out of India.

We can’t fly into UAE and fly inside UAE because they are all bus distance in the sense that if you want to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, you can’t fly a plane because the moment you take off the plane you will have to start landing it, they are so close. It’s a city-state 3-4 cities like Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai they all come together and formed UAE and we get no benefit, we would not be able to compete either.

In other words, our airlines would die; our skies will be mortgaged like a spectrum, issuing a spectrum Supreme Court says that the sky is a natural resource given by God and we must use it judiciously. Therefore I am opposing it on the bilateral agreement between the Govt. of India & UAE and this deal is incidental to it.

If I manage to scrap this bilateral agreement as it is against India’s national interest and for corrupt motives namely to compensate the Amir of the loss of 1 billion dollars which came about because of the cancellation of licenses by the Supreme Court on my petition on the 2g spectrum scam. If we allow this, it will be a corrupt deal and therefore I am opposing it, the Supreme Court in the last hearing said that if we decide to cancel it as you pray then there may be other airlines who may say we were not heard. You have only put Jet and Etihad as parties you also include other airlines who are Indian as such Air India, Indigo maybe Spice jet those kinds of airlines which fly to neighbouring areas all these will be affected hence you make them party and then they hear you in July.

This is the thing it’s a healthy indication that we have got a case and I hope we can win it in the national interest. Just one last word this argument of mine is supported by the Standing Committee of Parliament which went into this questions. It is also supported by CAG which went into this question, it is supported by committees of secretaries of the Govt. of India called Inter-Ministerial group and it is also supported by a note of the PMO but PMO had no strength those days because Sonia Gandhi would decide the things and therefore it is not something that is out of my hat or some anger of mine against Arab countries or against Jet Air. It is simply in the national interest which wide sections of people have supported me. Air India supports it and other Indian Airlines support it, therefore in the national interest the deal must not go through.

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Aashish is a technology & finance professional with many years of global experience in multiple roles.

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  1. I want to ask Gajapathi why Jet Airways, Emirates and Etihad should get special treatment and all the sectors at the cost of National Carrier and you blame it for not making profits. If there are 12 sectors
    why not give equal number of flights to each carrier iso Jet hogging all the share.


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