In 2012, in an exclusive interview with Bangalore Aviation, then Boeing India boss Dr. Dinesh Keskar advocated the need for both national carrier Air India, and India’s largest private airline, Jet Airways, to dramatically scale up their networks to utilise their widebody fleet (Boeing 777s, 787s, Airbus A330s) effectively. (Read the interview here, and Dr. Keskar’s advice is towards the end)
It appears the Naresh Goyal promoted airline which counts Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways PJSC as a 24% strategic investor, has taken Dr. Keskar’s advice to heart. Over the last two years, Jet Airways has been on a steady path to increase its global footprint. In a multi-pronged approach the airline is :
- deploying its wide-body aircraft, which were previously leased out to various global airlines
- shifting its narrow-body Boeing 737s from less remunerative domestic routes to the better yielding foreign routes
- willing to lose domestic market share to broaden its international network
- deploying its idle A330-200 fleet on high density domestic routes
- forging strategic partnerships with Etihad Airways and member airlines in the ‘Etihad Airways Partners’ group, a collection of airlines in which Etihad has a stake,
- leveraging its code-share partnership with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines.
Jet Airways made the below presentation at a briefing for the media yesterday at Mumbai. It makes for interesting reading. One can observe the dominance achieved by the ‘Jetihad’ combine, partly thanks to the over 300% increase in bilateral seat allocations. In less than four years, the transfer traffic exchanged between the two airlines each day each way has grown a staggering 1,000% from a measly 141 passengers to 1,446 passengers. (Pages 8 to 12). Today just the annual transfer traffic stands at over one million passengers.
The interesting partnership is with the SkyTeam alliance founding members Air France-KLM, and Delta Air Lines (pages 13 to 17 in the presentation). Jet has shifted its scissor hub from Brussels to Amsterdam which is KLM’s hub, and is also leveraging its Paris flights to connect with Air France and its London Heathrow flights to connect with Delta. Jet has almost quadrupled its transfer passenger count to almost 500 passengers each day each way between Air France, KLM and Delta through these three European gateways. The code-share partnership has carried over 200,000 passengers from April to October 2016.
Going forward it will be interesting to see how Jet Airways builds on this partnership. Seeing the gains of Air India from its joining the Star alliance, will Jet formally join the Skyteam alliance? Will Etihad Airways allow Jet to do so? Alitalia in to which Etihad has also invested is also a Skyteam member, but then the Italian carrier had joined the alliance before Etihad entered the picture.
It seems like interesting times ahead. Do share your thoughts and views via a comment.
Read the presentation full screen here.