Delay in new airport opening affects Jet Airways business

January 03, 2013 - 3:02:21 am

BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB

DOHA: Jet Airways, one of India’s premier private carriers, is reportedly losing business due to indefinite delay in the opening of New Doha International Airport (NDIA) as the airline is not able to execute its scheduled expansion plans, said a senior airline official.

Anil Srinivasan (pictured), Jet Airways’ Country Manager-Qatar, said: “The Company is losing business as we are not able to expand our operations from Doha to India due to delay in the opening of the NDIA”. He told to the Peninsula in an interview: “We were supposed to come out with a second flight to Mumbai, and also resume our services on the Doha-Calicut route, but this will be possible only with the opening of the NDIA.”

Asked how the airline was losing money, he said: “With the construction industry coming up in a big way in Qatar, there would be a phenomenal growth in the aviation business. But due to high traffic flow at the existing Doha International Airport, we did not get the timings that we wanted for our second flight to Mumbai. So we could not capitalise in the market, eventually we had to stop it after a few services in December. But once the new airport is through, we will be back with the second flight to Mumbai”. 

Presently, Jet Airways has three daily flights that are Doha-Mumbai, Doha- Delhi and Doha-Cochin. According to Srinivasan, flights to all the three destinations have an average 85 percent occupancy rate. 

In addition to increasing its number of flights to Mumbai, it has plans to resume services on the Calicut route which was suspended a couple of years ago. The company is said to have conducted studies to support its expansion plan.  

“As there are a lot of people from Calicut district in Kerala here, this is one of the strongest segments we are considering to start a direct flight,” added Srinivasan. 

Asked if he could give a tentative date, he said: “As of now I can’t give any date until the opening of the new airport. Presently, we have flights to Calicut via Mumbai.” 

Commenting on the airline’s quality of services, given the growing competition from Qatar Airways (QA) and Emirates, he said: “I do not like to compare our services with QA or Emirates. Recently, we have changed our menu. And the average age of our fleet is 6.5 years which is fairly good.”

He added: “We are a point to point carrier with niche customers. We have comparative advantage in terms of price and time. Our flights depart from here at night and reach India early in the morning providing the whole day for onwards journey.”

He also said that from today (January 3) Jet Airways is starting a new flight from Dubai to Mangalore (Indian state of Karnataka).

The Peninsula

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