Millennium Post

Compat to hear plea against Jet-Etihad deal later this month

After hearing the matter for almost one-and-a-half hours on Thursday, the tribunal posted the case for hearing on 27 March. Former Air India Executive Director Jitender Bhargava filed the appeal challenging the decision of the Competition Commission of India to clear the Jet-Etihad deal without carrying out a detailed assessment.

Compat Chairman V S Sirpurkar said on Thursday  that Bhargava's appeal is not maintainable and asked how he had been aggrieved by Etihad's purchase of a stake in Jet Airways. Regarding the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) becoming a party in the case along with Bhargava, he said the association should first approach the CCI. The CCI approved Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airway's acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways in November. The fair trade watchdog had said the deal does not raise concerns of adverse competition issues.

Bhargava contended in his appeal that the CCI failed to carry out an assessment of the appreciable adverse effect on competition and ‘placed all passengers and indeed the entire airline industry into a grave risk of suffering irreparable damage and permanently eliminating competition.’

The CCI majority order, passed by its Chairman Ashok Chawla and four members, had said the Jet-Etihad combination is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition. One CCI member, in his dissenting order, had observed that the deal could adversely affect competition in the international air travel market.
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