Capt Ali’s rapport with Etihad’s senior management will be crucial for Goyal, who needs an urgent infusion of liquidity to keep his airline flying
Even has he explores multiple avenues in his quest for funds for the troubled Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal has roped in industry veteran Capt Hameed Ali to lead talks with shareholder Etihad Airways.
Capt Ali was instrumental in Jet Airways’ deal with Etihad in 2013, when the Abu Dhabi-based airline bought a 24 percent stake in its Indian peer.
“Capt Ali is a known face in the industry, especially in the Middle-East where he has close ties,” said an executive from the industry.
Capt Ali’s rapport with Etihad’s senior management will be crucial for Goyal, who needs an urgent infusion of liquidity to keep his airline flying. Jet Airways has now reported losses for three consecutive quarters.
Sources said that Goyal is open to diluting the 51 percent stake he holds in the airline, along with his wife.
Apart from Etihad, Goyal has also engaged the Tata Group and the consortium of Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM for the potential stake sale.
“In line with its policy, Jet Airways does not comment on speculation,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson.
Who is Capt Ali?
A Bahraini national, Capt Ali built his reputation during his 30-year stint with Gulf Air. The seasoned pilot has over 10,000 flying hours on various aircraft, including Boeing and Airbus planes.
He joined Jet Airways in 2007, and was the airline’s Chief Operating Officer. Soon after leading the successful talks with Etihad, he was promoted to the Chief Executive Officer’s post.
Although he currently holds an official designation of Group Executive Officer, Capt Ali did not have any daily responsibilities.
“His return shows that Goyal is back in serious talks with Etihad. The present board appointment also shows that,” said a senior executive from the industry.
On November 27, Jet Airways announced the appointment of Robin Kamark on its board as Etihad’s nominee.
Kamark “is responsible for leading Etihad Aviation Group’s minority equity investment strategy, and optimising business performance, revenue and cost synergies between Etihad Airways and its equity partner airlines around the world. He handles strategic leadership for airline partners where Etihad Airways has management responsibility,” Jet Airways said a in statement.