Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Despite headwinds, it’s business as usual for Jet Airways

Unfazed by poor financial health, a survey by the Income Tax Department and the negative media coverage that it has been getting, it is business as usual at Jet Airways, which is going ahead with its international plans.

Come November 5, the airline is going to launch a five-times-a-week, non-stop, service linking Mumbai and Manchester. This direct connection to a second city in the UK comes close to 15 years after the airline launched direct flights between Mumbai and London. The Mumbai-Manchester flight will also be the first non-stop connection between India and North UK.

London is the only other city in the UK to which Jet operates at the moment although it does connect to other cities in Europe and America from India.

Air India is the only other Indian airline which operates non-stop services not only to London but also has a daily service from Delhi to Birmingham and also connects Amritsar to Birmingham. IndiGo, the low-cost airline based out of Delhi, is also said to be considering launching a flight to London but it is yet to make its plans for this flight public.
Jet’s flight to Manchester does raise a few questions. The airline reported a huge loss in August and had net loss of ₹1,323 crore in the first quarter as compared to a profit of ₹53 crore previously this year. The financial stress that the company is under can also be gauged from the fact that it has asked its top executives to take salary cuts and it has told the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that it could consider cutting back on flights in December. So, does it make business sense to launch a virgin international route at this time?
Gilbert George, Vice-President, Europe and Americas, thinks it does, as he is clear that what the company is facing right now is a normal business cycle.
30/10/18 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line
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