Jet Airways, trying hard to digest the acquisition of Air Sahara in its fold, has been beset with problems related to staff morale, but has moved fast to address the concerns of the most vital part of its ambitious gambit - the passengers.
It says operations have improved since the takeover and the scenario will improve in the coming days. To improve Air Sahara’s operations, Jet has directed its staff to address passenger inconvenience and has been transferring Air Sahara passengers to its own flights to make amends for flight disruptions.
It has also provided significant financial and technical manpower support to Air Sahara’s engineering set-up to improve reliability to operate a schedule that customers can rely on, Jet's executive director Saroj Datta told Hindustan Times.
Air Sahara was renamed Jet Lite earlier this month after Jet closed the acquisition stalled for long due to valuation issues.
Refuting reports that Air Sahara’s operations have been adversely affected because of employees fearing adverse fallouts from the takeover, Datta said, "The airport staff of the two airlines are co-operating fully and Jet Airways staff are providing all support necessary to assist and take care of Air Sahara passengers in the event of any delay or disruption of its flights."
He said as many as 1,000 passengers booked to fly Air Sahara were transferred to Jet flights between April 23 and 28, through a protection agreement entered into by both the airlines to address Sahara's delays and flight cancellations.
Admitting that there have been some delays he said they were fewer than before the Jet team took over.
"The delays have occurred largely due to technical reasons such as shortages of spares and not due to any personnel issues. We would like to emphasize that the reliability of Air Sahara operations has improved since the Jet Airways management team took it over and will only improve further in the days to come," Datta said.
He said on April 21, Jet Airways operated an additional flight between Kathmandu and Delhi to bring back 134 passengers stranded at Kathmandu as Air Sahara had to cancel its flight.
He also denied that operations had been affected because of unrest and disgruntlement among Air Sahara employees. "We have received excellent support and cooperation from all sections and Air Sahara employees at all locations."
Meanwhile, Jet said in a circular that its frequent-flyer programme members will not be able to earn or redeem miles or make use of benefits on Sahara Airlines's network, as the two airlines operate as separate entities.
In response to our report on Monday about Air Sahara's staff being restive, HT reader and an Air Sahara passenger VK Rai writes, "Air Sahara staff, irrespective of their positions have all along been casual and not at all passenger friendly. Complaints were never attended to. The takeover scenario by Jet has probably further worsened it."