Jet Airways has beaten out Air India and will dry lease three of its Boeing 777-300ERs (B77Ws) to Thai Airways for a period of three years. The deal is estimated at $36 million per year or about $1 million per aircraft per month.
Under financial pressure, Jet has been looking to lease these three aircraft after Gulf Air cut short its lease and returned them last year.
Bangalore Aviation had reported in January that Jet Airways was close to an agreement with Royal Brunei Airlines for the same three aircraft, however this deal fell through when the two airlines were unable to reach a commercial agreement.
With the Thai lease agreement, Jet Airways will be left with only three of its ten B77W fleet from its original order. It has four of its uber-luxurious Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on lease with Turkish THY Airlines. (See aircraft interiors here.)
The last aircraft VT-JEL MSN36563 made its first flight in July 2009 and was promptly parked in the desert in October. It appears Jet never took delivery of the aircraft since the registration reverted back to Boeing as N834BA. In early January, it was sold to Abu Dhabi Amiri, a VIP flight operator, and registered as A6-SIL (since the call sign of the operator is “Sultan”).
VT-JEA, VT-JEB, and VT-JEJ will be transferred to Thai Airways and will be re-registered in Thailand under the HS-xxx registration which is typical in a long term dry-lease agreement.
The four aircraft leased to Turkish THY Airlines VT-JEC, VT-JED, VT-JEE, and VT-JEF have already been re-registered in Turkish registration TC-JJA, TC-JJB, TC-JJC, and TC-JJD. Now Jet will operate only VT-JEG, VT-JEH, and VT-JEK, most likely one flight each on the Mumbai and Delhi to London Heathrow route.
While not as bad as the saga of the Airbus A340-500s of Kingfisher which were ultimately diverted to Arik Air and other VIP operators, it is still a sad commentary on the international plans of India’s two major private carriers, formed in the boom years prior to 2008, that their well appointed luxurious aircraft are being used by other airlines and operators to deliver profits.