The Telegraph
Tuesday , August 12 , 2014
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Race to ace the skies hots up
Jet strategy to gain altitude

Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan with Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal in Mumbai on Monday. (PTI)

Mumbai, Aug. 11: The dogfight in the skies to become India’s premier, full service airline is about to start up all over again.

On Monday, Jet Airways — the loss-making airline owned by Naresh Goyal — decided to re-establish the airline as a single brand, a move that is clearly designed to take on the challenge from Vistara, the airline formed by the Tata group and Singapore Airlines which will launch its services in October.

“Today, at our board meeting we have received approval for our next critical step to re-establish Jet Airways as a single master brand. This would mean harnessing our product’s proud heritage and original values in one consistent, predictable and clearly recognised full service brand,” Goyal told reporters after the airline announced its first quarter results.

Jet Airways, which has reported a standalone loss of Rs 217 crore in the first quarter ended June 30, is hunkering down for competition from Vistara in the full-service space where it has dominated ever since Kingfisher Airlines was grounded in October 2012.

The move to focus on a single brand is part of a three-year turnaround strategy.

“I give you my commitment, that by the end of the year, Jet Airways will have the best domestic full-service product in India. We will always be competitive to ensure our customers get the best value for their money,” Goyal said.

The airline will effectively wind up its low-cost operations with each flight offering a full-service business class option that will provide reciprocal frequent flyer awards with Abu Dhabi-based Eithad Airways’ programme Etihad Guest.

A full service Business Class offering will be implemented across all operations to ensure a premium experience on ground and in the air, along with reciprocal frequent flyer rewards and recognition in partnership with Etihad Guest.

Last year, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways purchased a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways for Rs 2,058 crore — creating a formidable combination in the aviation space.

The domestic economy class will provide a differentiated offering to address the needs of travellers seeking value and competitive fares, while ensuring service continuity with inbound international flights.

The enhanced domestic offering will provide a quality product with exclusive value addition, including premium seating, lounge passes, and higher baggage allowances than competitors.

The Jet Airways master brand will cover the whole fleet, including services currently operated by JetLite the low-cost brand that was created when the airline acquired Sahara Airlines in April 2007 for Rs 1,450 crore.

Earlier, the airline had two low-cost brands — Jet Lite and Jet Konnect — until it merged the two in January 2012.