Effective 28th April 2019, beleaguered carrier Jet Airways is returning its three pair of slots that it holds at London Heathrow back to Etihad. The airline until recently operated thrice daily to London Heathrow from Mumbai, but one service was terminated when the airline returned its slot leased from Delta back to Delta airlines.
Information put out on the website of slot coordinator ACL shows that the slot transfer has taken place today and is effective 28th April till the end of Summer season. Etihad intends to operate three flights to London Heathrow from Abu Dhabi and would operate the B77W aircraft which is configured in 328 seats as compared to 346 of Jet Airways.
Jet Airways had sold these slots to Etihad in 2013 when both the airlines were coming together as part of the equity sale process. Etihad has posted a loss of USD4.8 billion following its failed strategy over the years and has cancelled and deferred orders with Airbus and Boeing.
Current schedule listing shows Etihad operate 20x weekly flights to London Heathrow from Abu Dhabi and is unlikely to scale up its operations immediately. Two situations seem likely from here on. One where Etihad uses this as a pressure tactic to bargain for a sweet deal with Jet Airways or Etihad leases or sells the slots permanently to recover from its own losses.