Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Fog is Lifting for Jet Airways 2.0 But Will It Be Ready for a Timely Take-Off?

 A press release issued by the revived Jet Airways caused a fair bit of discussion. Jet indicated that it will fly its first flight from Delhi to Mumbai in the first quarter of 2022. Effectively that gives the airline less than six months to revive its air operators certificate, to lease new aircraft, to acquire airport slots that align with its network, to ramp up hiring and to relaunch.

For the airline that has been grounded for well over two years, the fog seems to be lifting. The question remains whether the runway will be clear enough for Jet 2.0 to take-off in the stipulated timeframe.

While there has been much speculation around, what has been confirmed is that Jet 2.0 has indeed ramped up hiring. In addition to the 100-odd staff that were retained during the NCLT proceedings, new offers have been floated supplementing the team with another 50 folks. Though the hiring has mostly been in Mumbai, as of this writing, some have been asked to move to Delhi in line with the airline’s intention of having corporate headquarters in the National Capital Region. This likely driven by better economics that the city has to offer, a larger talent base (NCR is home to four out of six large airlines), and presumably also the ability for Jet to grow in the future as Mumbai continues to be constrained on capacity.

With regards to fleet, Jet has been in active discussions with leasing companies and an announcement is imminent. While the choice of aircraft is not confirmed, the revival of the air-operator certificate is a strong hint as these are linked to the types of aircraft. The fact that Jet has indicated that it will continue with its training centre in Mumbai also is a potential indicator.

While Jet does have existing aircraft, the economics on these don’t quite add up. And with the advanced technology and competitors flying newer aircraft, Jet has no option but to renew its fleet. To this end, the current fleet of nine-odd aircraft are already in the process of being sold.

Interestingly, Jet 2.0 plans to fly international, which essentially means that it has to ramp up its fleet to 20 aircraft by the end of the year. Without this, the current policy does not allow for an airline to fly international. Overall, Jet 2.0 has its work cut out.

14/09/21 Satyendra Pandey/

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