India's Jet Airways Slams U.S. Firm's Allegations of Al-Qaida Link

BOMBAY, India (AP) -- Private Indian airline Jet Airways on Monday denied allegations by an American air carrier with a similar name that it has links with the al-Qaeda terror network.

''The allegations are outrageous and scurrilous,'' Executive Director Saroj Datta told reporters in Bombay, India's financial hub. The Indian airline is scheduled to launch its U.S. operations on June 23 with a flight from Bombay to Newark, New Jersey via Brussels.

Maryland-based Jet Airways Inc. had alleged that the Indian airline laundered money for the terror group and that it was funded by Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted gangster who has been branded a global terrorist by the United States, Datta said. He said his company had already filed a reply to the U.S. Department of Transportation on the allegations.

Datta also dismissed the American firm's claim before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to the Jet Airways trademark, which it said it had been using since Dec. 1, 2002.

The Indian airline has been using the name since 1995 in advertisements and publicity material in the U.S., Datta said.

He said investigations had showed the American firm was a shell company with no official base of business and a single office in Maryland. ''Jet Airways Inc. is not a certified airline ... It has no business activity of any sort, forget airline activity.''

India's Jet Airways, which began operating in 1993, operates more than 275 flights daily to some 47 destinations. The airline began international operations last year with flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka and Katmandu, Nepal.

The carrier began flying to destinations outside South Asia from April, with flights currently to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and London.