Mumbai: Jet Airways (India) Ltd, the country’s second-largest airline by passengers carried, will start daily non-stop flights between India and Amsterdam, its new European gateway.

Starting 27 March, Jet Airways will operate two daily non-stop flights to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, one each from its home hubs in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Jet Airways will also operate a daily flight from Toronto to Amsterdam, the airline said in a statement on Monday.

The Mumbai-based airline was always looking to move to Amsterdam as it was not able to get much success out of its only international hub at Brussels.

On 7 November, Mint reported that Jet Airways is weighing options on maintaining or closing down its only international hub in Brussels, citing economic feasibility in the wake of intense competition and changing dynamics in aviation.

The Naresh Goyal-promoted airline, in which Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways PJSC has a 24% stake, has started a consultative process with employee representatives on the future of the international hub, Mint reported citing two people familiar with the development.

Jet Airways started using the Belgian capital as a hub in September 2007, when it started flying to Europe, making it the first Indian airline to have full-scale operations outside the country besides state-owned Air India Ltd.

Jet Airways has two hubs in India—Mumbai and Delhi—while its equity partner Etihad Airways operates through its hub in Abu Dhabi. Currently, Jet Airways is flying via Abu Dhabi hub in partnership with Etihad Airways.

Jet Airways will continue to operate flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Newark and Toronto to Brussels as per current schedule till 26 March, 2016, the airline said.

The airline termed Amsterdam as “gateway" not as a “hub". It did not say if it will close down the Brussels hub.

“This effectively means that the Brussels hub will be shut down. Jet Airways is replicating the Brussels hub structure over Amsterdam," said K.G. Vishwanath, a partner at consulting firm Trinity Aviation Consultants Pte Ltd of Singapore.

“Its a logical strategy for Jet Airways given that over Amsterdam, the connectivity that KLM and Delta provide into Europe and North America will be significantly bigger and better yielding than the traffic that Jet Airways gets over its Brussels hub," said Vishwanath who is also former vice-president (commercial strategy and investor relations) at Jet Airways.

Jet Airways operates flights to 73 destinations, including 51 in India and 22 across the world.

Cramer Ball, chief executive officer, Jet Airways, said this is a significant step for Jet Airways and these two daily flights from India to Amsterdam will facilitate further growth in business and tourism between India and the Netherlands.

Shares of Jet Airways rose 1.4% to 569.65 on BSE, while India’s benchmark Sensex rose 0.42% to 25,150.35 points. The announcement was made after the end of trading on Monday.

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