Following an abortive attempt last year Jet Airways has agreed a friendly takeover of rival Air Sahara, with the purchase making the merger the second biggest airline in India by fleet with 89 aircraft.
The combined state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines have about 100 aircraft and, as formal approval has already been gained, the deal is expected to be completed on 20 April.
By combining with Air Sahara, Jet will be able to extend its lead in the domestic market cutting duplication and is currently the only non-government airline to have the rights to fly overseas. This is likely to change in the future as aggressive rivals, typically Kingfisher, acquire long haul aircraft.
Jet Airways flies twice-daily from Heathrow to Mumbai, and daily to Amritsar and Delhi, plus twice-weekly to Ahmadabad. Air Sahara did introduce a London flight in the early part of last year but quickly dropped it when the initial Jet bid took place.
All long haul Jet Airways flight are operated by Airbus A340 equipment, with an international standard cabin service including flat seats in business class.
Jet Airways will rebrand Air Sahara as a low fare airline called Jetlite. Air Sahara had already converted some of its machines into a single class configuration by removing business class seats.
The Indian market is booming but is very competitive with all airlines struggling for market share and profitability. Carriers include Air Deccan, GoAir, the UB Group's Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet, plus a number of smaller carriers.