India's first private airline Jet Airways will soon announce its much-delayed services to America, with the company hoping to get a formal license and necessary approvals to operate between India and the United States in the next few days.
"We expect to announce the flights to the US soon. We are awaiting approval from the US Department of Transportation and the Homeland Security. The approvals will come soon," Nandini Verma, Vice President, Communications, Jet Airways, told rediff.com.
Early this year, the airline announced plans to operate a three-times-a-week service on the India-Brussels-New York sector. Although the airline had applied for permission to operate a daily service on the route, it was not given consent as there are restrictions on the number of flights that can be operated on the India-Brussels route.
The first Jet flight to the American skies was to take off in the second week of August. But it was indefinitely postponed, as the airline could not get official clearances from the US in time.
Jet Airways, which has been caught in a controversy in the US, said that the postponement of its inaugural flight to America has nothing to do with the allegations levelled against it by a Maryland-based company by the name Jet Airways Inc.
"The delay has nothing to do with the case against us in America. Any airline that wants to operate to the US has to get necessary clearances, and they take time," Verma said.
Even as Jet Airways was preparing for the US launch, the Maryland-based Jet Airways Inc levelled serious allegations against the Indian company saying it has links with terror outfit Al Qaeda and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Jet officials said they have already filed documents with the US Department of Transportation in response to the objections raised against it by Jet Airways Inc.
The private airline has also initiated legal proceedings in the US through Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP against the President & CEO Nancy Heckerman of Jet Airways Inc.
Once the official approvals come from the US, Jet officials said it takes a maximum of only six weeks for the airline to begin services to the US. The company, thus, hopes to launch its maiden flight to America by October end.
Jet officials said that already the airline has received operating permits from the Director General of Civil Aviation in India to the fly to the US. It has submitted the approval letters from DGCA to the US Department of Transportation for the license.
Currently, Jet Airways operates 275 flights to 47 destinations that span the length and breadth of India, and to international destinations such as Colombo in Sri Lanka, Kathmandu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and London.Air India is the only airline from India that operates regular flights on the India-US route. It has regular services to four destinations in the US -- New York, Newark, Chicago and Los Angeles. In addition, at least two US airlines, including North West and Delta, operate regular flights between the two countries.