Jet Airways hits Al Qaeda net on US runway
Jet Airways Inc, a registered airliner based in Bethesda, Maryland, put up a hurdle to Jet’s ambitious US foray by dragging an Al
Qaeda, Dawood connection to the Indian private carrier.
BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT
4 June, 2005: India’s private airline carrier Jet Airways has run over an unexpected hurdle which it encountered in US terrain: A namesake.
Jet Airways Inc, a registered airliner based in Bethesda, Maryland, put up a hurdle to Jet’s ambitious US foray by dragging an Al Qaeda, Dawood connection to the Indian private carrier. It wanted the Indian Jet to be barred from flying to US.
In a complaint filed to the US Department of Transport on May 23, the Delaware-based Jet said permitting Jet would endanger US national security as the Indian carrier “had Al Qaeda” links.
The US Jet’s complaints, filed on May 23, 21 days after Jet filed its application,
were based on some unconfirmed media reports in India. Jet Airways Inc said its Indian namesake was funded by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, since it was launched in 1991. Gangster Dawood Ibrahim is in UN’s most wanted list of individuals having links with Al Qaeda, founded by terror mastermind Osama bin laden.
The US Jet’s complaints were as wild and unsubstantiated as the media reports it were based. Sample this: “"Secretary (Department of Transportaion) Mineta would never welcome Jet Airways (India) if he was made aware of Naresh Goyal (Chairman of Jet Airways, India0 and Dawood Ibrahim's plan to inflict real and imminent danger on the United States."
Jet (India) slammed the allegations as “sensational, unsupported and offensive but also scurrilous”. In its reply filed last month, Jet India said the complaint has “ falsely accused the Jet Airways of being an "Al-Qaeda airline" and has otherwise attempted to besmirch the reputation of the company and its chairman"
Jet India said in its reply that all aircraft acquisitions and operations have been financed through internationally accredited multilateral institutions and banks including the Export Import bank of US, International Finance Corporation and other reputed banks and FIIS.
The US Jet, which does not even have an aircraft in its possession, didn’t seem to have much takers among US authorities. Jet Airways India has a fleet of 42 aircraft.
It was also the lone objection raised against Jet India’s plans.
The Port Authority of Newark has rubbished the US jets claim. It has supported the Indian Jet’s entry with the US Department of Transport. Jet has selected Newark as its first destination in US for its Mumbai-US flight.
The complaint against the Indian airliner comes as the US Department of Transport
gives 21 days for other parties to raise objections on any new entrant. Media reports say the US Jet was more concerned about the trade name Jet and that the Al Qaeda-Dawood link was just a ruse to stir up anti-terror passions in the US a bid to block the Indian airline’s entry.
The Indian Jet has apparently employed a battery of lawyers to tackle the issue.
The issue is now with the US Homeland Security.
Jet Airways India had come out with a hugely successful Initial Public Offering recently, which was oversubscribed 12 times. This was the first IPO by an airline company in India.
BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT