Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal is crisscrossing the globe to find answers that would help him mitigate the effects of last year’s oil crisis and the impact of the global meltdown on carriers. He is relentlessly cutting cost to survive. And he recently entered into a long-term alliance with Malaysia Airlines, including a code-share. Lalatendu Mishra spoke to the aviation czar in Kuala Lumpur about his plans.
How much shares you have pledged to run the airline at this crisis period?
I have not pledged any share. I own 80 per cent stake in the airline. There was no need for pledging.
How much money you need to raise?
At this time, it is difficult to raise funding. Valuations are very low. Market is tight. We will try to manage by reducing cost and improving efficiency.
When do you expect to turn profitable?
We are working hard. Our condition is better than other airlines. The fourth quarter numbers will speak for themselves. I don’t want to speculate but we are improving every day.
Do you have any plans for job cuts?
We will cut no job. We have reallocated work in such a manner that the company is not taking any extra financial burden. So there is no question of lay offs.
There is allegation of a cartel that is jacking up fares. Are you a party to this?
This is untrue. We never discussed fares with others. Our fares are always higher than others and we have a unique revenue management system. There is no question of any cartel. Somebody is misleading the public.
When are you expected to reduce fares?
Fares will automatically come down when the government puts aviation turbine fuel (ATF) in the declared goods category that would bring down taxes to 4 per cent. Until then it is not possible. Every body is into massive losses.
You have tied up with Malaysia Airlines. What are the tangible financial benefits for Jet?
Malaysia Airlines will help us to reduce cost on many fronts and improve revenue. We will supplement and complement each other. The benefits will be many. We have just got married. We don’t know how many children will be born out of this marriage (laughs). But we will work hard to yield desired results (produce many children).