News

Jet Airways update

21 Nov 2008 by Sara Turner

Jet Airways
is dropping several under-performing routes in a bid to restore profitability.

Like all
Indian airlines, Jet Airways is suffering in the current financial crisis and
its rapid expansion in recent times has not helped matters.

“Right now,
all Indian airlines are losing money so we are not immune,” Raja Segran, Jet Airways’ vice-president for Europe
and the Americas, told Business Traveller. “However, we are probably doing better [than
the others] and we are taking measures to come out of the financial crisis.”

Jet will
cut three unprofitable routes linking India with Europe and the US within the
next two months. (See online news November 18.)

First for
the chop is London-Amritsar, which is used mainly by low-revenue leisure
travellers.  It will end on December 1.

Next up is
Brussels-Bangalore, a route which was started only a few weeks ago. It will
cease on January 12.

That will
be followed by Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco, which
will be dropped the following day on January 13.

This last
route is a surprise, seeing as Jet Airways is thought to be the best option, as it’s
the only carrier to fly non-stop from Shanghai to San Francisco.

Raja Segran said: “We started
this service on the premise that the transpacific market would be robust but recent events, such as the US downturn and the IT slowdown, have
resulted in demand not being what we thought.”

But there
is some good news for Jet and that concerns fuel prices. Unusually for an
international carrier, Jet did not hedge its fuel price so whereas its rivals
might be paying a hedged rate of US$90 a barrel, Jet is benefiting from the
dramatic fall in the price of oil. And the
Indian authorities, which until now levied high taxes on aviation fuel (they
consider air travel to be a “luxury”), will begin to
reduce their fees in the new year.

Meanwhile,
the carrier is proceeding with plans to co-operate with fellow international
carrier Kingfisher, which recently began flying into London from Bangalore. 

It is
Kingfisher’s first long-haul venture and it’s believed that the airline has
found it hard competing against British Airways. Unlike BA, Kingfisher lacks
the global links which are so important when it comes to promoting a route.

Raja Segran
explains that a steering group has been set up to work out how the two airlines
can work together. It’s likely to lead to co-ordination of schedules and
codesharing.

Jet may codeshare with Kingfisher on London-Bangalore, while the latter
places its flight code on Jet’s services linking London with Mumbai. Segran said: “We hope the move will lead to two stronger
rather than two struggling carriers.”

Jet’s
Brussels hub (where flights from India dovetail into its North Atlantic
services) is being strengthened with more possibilities for making connections.
Flights from here depart for New York (JFK and Newark), Toronto, Mumbai, Delhi
and (until January 12) Bangalore. 

All Jet
flights both from the US and India arrive in Brussels at around 0800. Passengers switch between flights with the
onward services departing by 1000 the same morning.

Segran said: “It’s now
possible for passengers from Birmingham and Manchester using Brussels Airlines
to connect at Brussels for our services to India and North America. We want to develop further connections from Leeds and East Midlands
using Bmi.”

For more information visit jetairways.com.

Report by
Alex McWhirter

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