by Devesh Agarwal
Sources within Mumbai based Jet Airways indicate the airline has entered into an agreement with Turkish Airlines to dry-lease three of its Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft for one year. The Indian carrier has a total of ten 77Ws in its fleet.
Since 2008, the carrier has found it difficult to effectively utilise these highly popular aircraft. It has been leasing up to 70% of its 777 fleet to various carriers like Gulf Air, Turkish THY Airlines, and Thai Airways. Boeing India chief Dr. Dinesh Keskar attributes this to Jet’s small network in comparison to its competition. (Read Dr. Keskar’s exclusive interview with Bangalore Aviation.)
At present the airline has five 77W’s on lease with Thai Airways. Three of these aircraft will return by June and July 2013 and will be leased to Turkish Airlnes for a one year period. The other two are expected back from Thai in the fourth calendar quarter of this year. At present indications are that Jet plans to use these aircraft on its own network.
It appears the carrier is bullish on its deepening partnership with Abu Dhabi based Etihad and may want to deploy the high capacity 77Ws on select routes. Jet has been negotiating a 24% stake-sale to Etihad. It recently sold its landing slots at London Heathrow airport to the UAE carrier, a sale many consider as selling the family jewels.
There are reports that Jet plans to extend its code-share agreement with Etihad to include the Mumbai-Brussels-Newark route, and the winter season is the peak demand for the year.