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Jet to launch cargo airline, to merge with Air Sahara in 12-18 mont

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Apr 29 (UNI) India's premier private sector air-carrier, the Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways (India) Limited plans to launch a cargo airline for which feasibility studies are presently being conducted, besides contemplating a domestic straight equity programme of around USD 300 million in the latter part of this year.

While the feasibility study is expected to be completed within the next six months, the proceeds from the straight equity will be used to fund the company's aircraft acquisition programme, revealed the founder-chairman of the company, Mr Naresh Goyal, interacting with journalists here today while announcing his company's FY 06 financial results.

He also said that Air Sahara will be merged with Jet Airways eventually, ''probably within the next 12-to-18 months.'' Speaking about the proposed cargo airline, Mr Goyal said, ''there is a lot of money in freight and we hope to tap this opportunity. The company's think-tank feels that with fuel prices escalating, the cargo business would provide Jet with a cushion against any fall in profits. Besides, we will be able to offer our shareholders better returns,'' he averred.

Jet Airways will self-finance this venture and there was no need for any fund infusion from outside entities, he said.

India's premier private air-carrier, which recorded a revenue and PAT of Rs 61.4 billion and Rs 4.5 billion respectively in FY 06, will be adopting the Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCB) route to raise USD 500 million to finance the induction of 30 aircraft which is estimated to cost around USD 2.6 billion.

The aircraft include ten 737s, ten 777s and 10 A 330s with the 737s and 777s and atleast four A 330s expected to be delivered by 2008.

''The FCCB will fund 15 per cent of the acquisition cost while the remaining 85 per cent will be funded by the Exim banks of the US and Europe,'' Mr Goyal informed.

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