News

Troubled Jet Airways to axe more than a dozen routes, including Singapore and Hong Kong

21 Mar 2019 by Michael Allen
Jet Airways B777

Indian carrier Jet Airways, which has been forced to ground nearly two-thirds of its fleet amid financial difficulties, will suspend service on more than a dozen routes, including to the key Asian hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong.

Anindam Choudhury, general manager – Hong Kong and North Asia for the airline, told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that Jet Airways has “made certain proactive adjustments, bearing in mind short time non-availability of some aircraft in its fleet”.

“This unfortunately includes the temporary suspension of the airline’s successful operations to Hong Kong until end-April 2019. The airline is taking all possible measures to minimise guest inconvenience, including offering a full refund for the affected guests as well as exploring reaccommodation possibilities on other airlines. Jet Airways sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests.”

In total, the airline plans to suspend more than 13 routes, as was previously reported by Routes Online. These are mostly effective from March 16, 2019 to April 30, 2019.

Route Frequency
Bangalore-Singapore 2x daily
Delhi-Abu Dhabi 9x weekly
Delhi-Dammam 14x weekly
Delhi-Dhaka 11x weekly
Delhi-Hong Kong 7x weekly
Delhi-Riyadh 7x weekly
Kolkata-Dhaka 7x weekly
Mumbai-Abu Dhabi 12x weekly
Mumbai-Bahrain 4-7x weekly
Mumbai-Dammam 14x weekly
Mumbai-Hong Kong 7x weekly (from March 23)
Pune-Abu Dhabi 7x weekly
Pune-Singapore 7x weekly

On top of this, the airline is also reducing service on the following routes:

Route Frequency and reduction
Delhi-Bangkok Reduced from 3 to 1 daily
Delhi-Kathmandu Reduced from 4 to 2 daily
Delhi-Singapore Reduced from 3 to 1 daily
Mumbai-Bangkok Reduced from 3 to 1 daily
Mumbai-Doha Reduced from 2 to 1 daily
Mumbai-Kuwait City Reduced from 2 to 1 daily
Mumbai-Singapore Reduced from 3 to 1 daily

A pinned Tweet on Jet Airways’ official Facebook page warns passengers of the impact on flight schedules.

The news comes amid increasing financial difficulties for the Mumbai-based airline, which is saddled with more than US$1 billion in debt.

Jet Airways has been forced to ground more than two-thirds of its fleet and the Indian government is considering asking Indian low-cost carrier Spicejet – an airline which itself faced financial difficulties before rebounding in 2015 – to take over as many as 40 of Jet Airways’ aircraft, Bloomberg reports.

While it is normal for airlines to occasionally adjust their routes, the scale of this route cutting by Jet Airways is bigger than usual, says David Yu, adjunct professor of finance at New York University Shanghai and aviation expert.

“There have been reports of many aircraft that are being grounded because of other financial issues with the airline and that might be contributing to this result,” he told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.

Jet Airways stopping (even temporarily) its Delhi-Hong Kong and Mumbai-Hong Kong services is likely to be a boon to Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways, which operates two flights per day between Hong Kong and Delhi, and two daily flights between Hong Kong and Mumbai.

Yu said: “Whenever a carrier stops a route, there is less competition on that particular route segment. It will give more power to the remaining airlines, especially if the numbers are small so there is greater concentration for the remaining players. Given that there are not that many carriers flying those routes, the remaining two parties may decide to raise prices because there will be extra demand for both carriers.”

A Cathay Pacific spokesperson said: “The Cathay Pacific Group is aware of the situation. Special one-way fares have been made available to assist affected passengers stranded in Hong Kong or India. We invite passengers to contact us through our Global Contact Centre and/or our official social channels, including facebook, twitter, WeChat and Instagram (@cathaypacific).”

The future of Jet Airways is unclear and the situation is fluid, with new information surfacing in the media seemingly every day.

The Economic Times, an English-language Indian newspaper, reports that as many as 260 Jet Airways’ pilots, who have gone three months without pay, have recently attended job interviews with Spicejet.

Reuters, citing anonymous government sources, reports that India’s government has asked state-owned banks in the country to rescue Jet Airways by converting debt into equity and taking a stake in the airline. This would be a “transitory” move and the lenders could sell their stakes once Jet Airways revives.

Travellers booked to fly on Jet Airways in the coming days and weeks would do well to contact the airline for an update on the current status of their flight, though there is a chance you may be in for quite a wait, at least if customer Tweets to the airline are to be believed.

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