As part of a strategic rebranding and restructuring exercise announced last July, the country's largest airline Jet Airways on Monday said, effective March 25, its low-cost arm JetLite will cease to operate, after being merged with the other no-frills brand JetKonnect.
"Effective March 25, JetLite will cease to operate separately, but will come under the JetKonnect brand, enabling guests to avail of a single superior in-flight product in the full service (Jet Airways) and low-fare categories," group chief commercial officer Sudheer Raghavan said in a statement.
JetLite was created in 2007, following the takeover of Air Sahara in April 2007. It used to contribute nearly three-quarters of the group's domestic revenue, with the rest coming from JetKonnect. It used to operate with 19 Boeing 737s, connecting 31 domestic destinations, apart from Kathmandu, with 123 flights a day.
JetKonnect was launched in May 2009 as competition increased in the no-frills category.
Jet had revealed the merger plan last July. Announcing the first quarter earnings, group vice-president, commercial strategy and investor relations, KG Vishwanath had said, "The management is very clear that there will be only one brand in the low-fare arena and that is something, which will emerge very clearly in the next one or two months."
Jet Airways and JetLite will continue as distinct business entities operating under their own airline operating permits, Raghavan said, adding "to achieve brand consistency, JetKonnect will be the dedicated low-fare service with a mixed fleet of Boeings and ATRs to operate on the metro, tier II and III routes."
Explaining the rationale behind the merger, Raghavan said, "The launch of JetKonnect is the culmination of a well-coordinated effort and arises from the fact that since its inception in May 2009, JetKonnect has proved to be a successful model. We thought it best to consolidate our product in the low-fare segment with a single brand JetKonnect, for enhanced brand recall."