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TRAVEL: Jet and Etihad reinforce commitment to growth of Indian aviation

26 August, 2014

Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have outlined plans to reinforce their long-term commitment to the growth of India’s economy and aviation industry, including a major new turnaround strategy for Jet Airways to return to profitability in three years.

The two airlines have been codeshare partners since 2008 and their relationship was strengthened in November 2013, after Etihad Airways received approvals to acquire a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, marking it the first investment by a foreign carrier in India’s airline industry.

The wide-ranging partnership has numerous advantages for travellers, including enhanced connections across the world through an expanded codeshare agreement, and reciprocal ‘earn and burn’ rights and tier level recognition on the JetPrivilege and Etihad Guest frequent flyer programs.

Jet Airways and Etihad Airways also stand to benefit from cost savings and synergies in areas such as fleet acquisition, maintenance, product development and training, and continue to explore collaborative purchasing opportunities for fuel, spare parts, insurance and technology support.

Supporting the partnership, the Jet Airways Board recently approved a three-year business plan to reshape the airline and secure its long-term future. The plan incorporates a series of critical measures that lay the foundations for a return to profitability, such as long-term network, fleet and product developments to optimise the airline’s domestic and international operations.

Focus areas for international operations will include network developments, including new services to markets such as Europe, China, Australia and Southeast Asia, expanded frequencies to existing routes and additional codeshares. Jet Airways’ two and three class aircraft product will also be enhanced and the seat count optimised on wide-body Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft. In addition, the domestic business model will improve connectivity across India and worldwide, while removing complexity in product and fleet, including the standardisation and reconfiguration of the Boeing 737 fleet.

To initiate the three-year turnaround plan, the Jet Airways Board and management team have already worked with auditors to clean up its balance sheet and write down overvalued non-cash assets.

Jet Airways has announced a new team at the helm with Cramer Ball as its new Chief Executive Officer and Subodh Karnik as the Chief Operating Officer pending regulatory approval. Mr Ball, an Australian national, is a certified accountant and an accomplished airline executive with extensive experience in the aviation industry. Mr. Karnik brings with him rich experience in the aviation sector leading and assisting airlines in fleet and network planning, global alliances, joint ventures and improving overall efficiencies at international airlines.

Etihad Airways, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of its inaugural flight to India this September, currently operates 112 flights per week to 10 Indian destinations. During the first half of 2014, more than 621,000 people travelled on the airline’s India services, representing an impressive growth rate of 51 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.

Last month, the airlines announced a significant expansion of their codeshare agreement, after obtaining regulatory approval to codeshare on 43 additional routes, bringing the total number of services in their codeshare agreement to 71.

Under the development, Etihad Airways placed its ‘EY’ code on domestic services in India for the first time, with the codeshare agreement now including 31 Jet Airways routes from hubs in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore to regional centres in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Vadodara. Also included are Jet Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai, New Delhi and Trivandrum.

Jet Airways
Jet Airways is one of India’s premier international airlines recognized for its quality and customer service excellence. The Jet Airways group currently operates a fleet of 113 state-of-the-art wide and narrow-bodied aircraft under the Jet Airways and JetKonnect brand.

Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2013 carried 11.5 million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base Etihad Airways flies to 110 existing or announced passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 102 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and more than 210 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777-X, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s. Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, and is in the process of formalising its equity investment in Swiss-based Etihad Regional.

Etihad Airways operates a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft between Abu Dhabi and Cyprus. It is configured to carry 16 guests in Pearl Business Class and 120 in Coral Economy Class. Etihad Airways operates Larnaca as a daily service during the peak summer period from 1 July to 30 September 2014. Flight EY093 departs from Abu Dhabi at 09:25 (local time) and arrives in Larnaca at 12:50. The return flight, EY094, departs from Larnaca at 14:35 and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 19:30 local time. As of 1st October 2014 Etihad Airways will increase its base frequency on the Abu Dhabi - Larnaca to five flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

For more information visit www.etihad.com