Compat to hear appeal against Jet-Etihad deal after 3 weeks

Compat to hear appeal against Jet-Etihad deal after 3 weeks

The Competition Appellate Tribunal will hear an appeal against fair trade regulator CCI's approval of the Rs 2,060 crore Jet-Etihad deal after three weeks.

The appeal was filed by former Air India Executive Director Jitender Bhargava challenging the decision of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to clear the deal.

The tribunal today asked Jet Airways and Etihad Airways to file their replies in two weeks and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks. Following the appeal, Compat had issued notices to CCI, Jet and Etihad last month.

The CCI approved Abu Dhabi-based Etihad's acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways in November. The fair trade watchdog had said the transaction 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."

According to him, if the proposed combination is permitted to be completed in its present form, passengers are likely to be deprived of airline choices on key routes, pay higher prices and have fewer options on aircraft, timings and service quality.

The CCI majority order, passed by its chairman Ashok Chawla and four members, said the Jet-Etihad combination is not likely to have appreciable adverse effect on competition.

However, 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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