Jet Airways on Thursday announced opening of six new international routes including the prestigious Mumbai- Hong Kong and Mumbai-San Francisco via Sanghai, making it one of the fastest growing global airlines.
Naresh Goyal’s airline, which will complete 15 years on May 3, 2008 has been on an ambitious international growth path since 2004. It has made a major headway in the past 8 months by opening new routes to America, the lucrative West Asia and now China and Hong Kong.
“The business plan which I initiated in 2005 has now worked. When I placed orders for huge number of planes in 2005, people thought I was crazy. I believed in our government and now we are opening so many routes,” Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal said while announcing the new sectors.
The direct service between Mumbai and Hong Kong will commence from April 14 and Goyal said response was fantastic. “Our flights are aimed at business and banking community as well as leisure travelers. The opportunity is huge in this market,” Goyal said. A large number of Indians who have been staying in Hong Kong since 1841 and there after are the targeted customers for Jet Airways apart from other corporate customers.
On May 15, Jet Airways will launch its new flight from Mumbai to San Francisco via Shanghai. This is the first time that China has allowed an airline from another country to operate flights to a third country from its airports. Jet Airways is aiming at a sizeable number of Chinese passengers to travel between Shanghai and San Francisco. “We will deploy Chinese crew and have alliance with airlines from China to take passengers on board,” Goyal said.
Jet also announced daily direct flights to Abu Dhabi from Mumbai and Delhi effective April 23, 2008. It has also enhanced services to the gulf by introducing direct flights on the Mumbai-Muscat and Kochi-Doha sectors.
Goyal said it is working to start a cargo airline and to set up another hub in Europe at Milan. Setting up a hub in Shanghai is also under consideration.
Goyal said he was worried about the irrational pricing in the domestic sectors and rising jet fuel prices. “Everybody is loosing money but our loss will be minimum. Hopefully next year we will make money. All Indian carriers collectively will lose more than $1 billion this year,” Goyal said adding that in 2008-9, Jet and jetLite will have a top line of $4 billion. Within 20 months by October 2008, Jet will have a total of 22 wide-bodied aircraft in its fleet, something noteworthy and in January-February 2008, Jet mopped up a market share of 33% in the India-London sector, an achievement by an Indian carrier, Goyal added.