Beginning 2008, Jet Airways plans to include the Middle East in the list of destinations it flies to. The carrier has geared up to start operations into this lucrative sector starting January 1.
Initially, it will open eight routes from Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin and Calicut to Kuwait, Muscat (Oman), Doha (Qatar) and Bahrain in the first week of January. The airline will offer a superior product with competitive pricing for the flyers, it said.
Two more routes, which have been allocated to Jet Airways, will be added soon after. The Indian government is yet to allow the airline to fly into Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
In the past two months, the airline has inducted key personnel having considerable experience in the gulf region in its top management team. They include Abdul Khaliq Saeed, Captain Hameed Ali (both from Bahrain), Abdulrahman Albusaidy, from Oman and Sudhir Raghaban, from Singapore.
Apart from formulating strategies for the Gulf region, they will spearhead the overall ambitious growth plan of the airline.
"In total, we will strengthen our sales force by around 50 persons in these four destinations and around 50 persons at the airport. These personnel could be partly on the payroll of our respective General Sales Agent (GSA). We are right now defining the split between personnel on Jet Airways payroll and GSA payroll," said Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.
Aircraft will be positioned in Mumbai and Delhi and will be deployed as per need.
For the eight routes, Jet Airways is expecting to fly 650,000 passengers on annualised basis. "For all 10 routes allocated to us we will fly around 800,000 passengers in one year, said Prock-Schauer.