NEW DELHI: Jet Airways on Wednesday indicated that it may participate in the second round of government’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN. Senior officials of the airline gave signals of the same while addressing analysts during a conference call on the airline’s Q1 Fiscal 2018.
They, however, said the final decision for participation in Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) will depend on the “economics” of operations. The second round of the bidding for RCS routes had commenced from August 24 and the winners for this phase are to be announced by November-end.
The airline also announced that it would be expanding and would induct eight aircraft during the fiscal year. Another important announcement that the airline made was about increasing frequency of its flights on certain popular routes.
Some top officials of the airline who participated in the call were Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube and Chief Financial Officer of Jet Airways Amit Agarwal. “We evaluate this (participation in UDAN scheme) consistently. We would evaluate and depending on the economics available, we will decide on the second round of bidding,” Jet Airways Chief Financial Officer Amit Agarwal said.
Regarding induction of new aircrafts, the officials indicated that the new planes will be in addition to the firm order for MAX Boeing 737 aircraft which are expected to enter the fleet next year. The airline plans to lease the eight Boeing 737 aircraft and is not considering purchasing these, officials said. The eight additional leases will be from now till the end of the year of which one has already come in, officials added. Notably, Boeing 737 aircraft in the airline’s fleet flies on both domestic and international routes.
In the conference call, the officials said that it is looking to add more flights on the Mumbai Delhi, Pune Chennai and Pune Mumbai sectors apart from offering connections from Coimbatore to Pune and Kolkata and a new connection from Delhi to Raipur. In the international sector, the airlines will mainly focus on Riyadh and Dhaka with additional frequencies from Mumbai and a new frequency from Chennai to Dhaka and from Riyadh to Delhi, officials said.
Officials indicated that since Mumbai, which is its hub is a constrained airport, the airline is enhancing its capabilities and slots between Delhi and Bengaluru by upgrading the aircraft that are being used from these two airports. The upgradation would involve operating larger aircraft from these two airports including operating wide body aircraft where a narrow body is operating at present and putting in a Boeing 737 in place of the ATR.
Despite feeling that the “weakness” in the Gulf market is continuing, airline officials indicated that there is no specific route that Jet Airways would like to take out at this juncture as it continues to evaluate all routes at all points of time and depending on the full year structure will look at pulling out a route. “Short term optimisation is not the right thing but we continue to optimise continuously,” officials said. The airline operates almost 20 per cent of its international capacity into the Gulf market.”