Mumbai: The owner of the country’s largest private carrier, Jet Airways (India) Ltd, is taking desperate measures to boost revenue and cut costs.
The airline is beginning the drive by charging passengers of JetLite, its low-fare airline, for food and beverages served on-board.
The carrier is also considering taking over profitable routes from JetLite, the erstwhile Air Sahara that was bought by Jet Airways in early 2007, and sharing the ticket distribution software.
Jet Airways is considering taking over profitable routes from JetLite, its low-cost airlines (Photo by: Rajesh Nirguide / AP)
The moves come amid a surge in aviation fuel prices that are squeezing airlines’ earnings.
JetLite, which has until now been positioned between full-service airlines and no-frills carriers that sell refreshments on-board, currently provides a free food tray with a cup cake, bun and a small bottle of water.
“In an internal survey, we found that 64% of our travellers are unhappy with our food and the same amount of travellers were ready to pay for good food for a reasonable amount,” Maunu von Lueders, chief executive officer of JetLite (India) Ltd, said.
Lueders, speaking on the sidelines of a conference organized by event management firm Terrapinn Pte Ltd and aviation data services provider, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation in Mumbai, said the airline is considering selling hot beverages such as coffee and tea to make JetLite a “flying cafeteria”.
The low-cost airline also plans to sell other merchandise such as cosmetics and sunglasses, he added.
Other low-fare carriers such as Simplifly Deccan, GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet sell light refreshments onboard, while Air India Express, a low-fare international subsidiary of National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, provides free food and beverages.
JetLite is also planning a brand relaunch with a new identity—backed by marketing campaigns and advertisements—to raise its profile.
“We want to change the looks of the airline and want to register the JetLite brand. Apart from the promotions and new livery, we are considering new uniforms for the JetLite crew at a later stage,” Lueders added.
Raj Sivakumar, vice-president (revenue management) of Jet Airways, said his airline is considering swapping routes with JetLite based on the traffic pattern.
“We will be deploying JetLite capacity in price-sensitive segments and induct Jet Airways wherever there exists a mix of business and leisure traffic. This will maximize revenue and profitability on account of synergies,” Sivakumar said.
Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, Jet Airways’ arch rival, had earlier taken over the profitable metro routes of its low-fare subisidiary Simplifly Deccan.
JetLite’s Lueders said his airline plans to share Jet Airways’ computer reservations system made by Sabre Holdings Corp. JetLite currently uses the software made by Sita.
“Sharing same software will help to cut down the training cost and enable optimum utilization of human resources. Apart from this, this will help us to have a code-sharing between JetLite and Jet Airways,” said Gaurang Shetty, senior vice-president (alliances and interline distribution), Jet Airways.