Jet Airways hopes to restart scheduled commercial flights before the end of September after receiving its air operator’s certificate (AOC) from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Granting of the AOC marks the final step in a comprehensive regulatory and compliance process, paving the way for the airline’s comeback with fresh funding, changed ownership and a new management team.
Once India’s biggest private carrier, Jet ceased operations in April 2019 when it could not meet its payment obligations. At its peak, the airline boasted a fleet of 120 aircraft, flying 600 domestic and 380 international routes.
After a lengthy search for new investors, a consortium comprising Dubai-based investor Murari Lal Jalan and Florian Fritsch of Kalrock Capital was selected as the winning bidder by creditors in October 2020. A court panel approved Jet’s takeover and restart plan in June 2021.
“We are grateful to have received the revalidated AOC, the culmination of months of effort by a fantastic and dedicated team that never wavered in its faith and belief that Jet Airways would fly again,” says Jet CEO Sanjiv Kapoor, previously of Vistara and SpiceJet.
The Jalan-Kalrock consortium plans to recommence commercial operations in the third quarter of 2022, saying that Jet’s “aircraft and fleet plan, network, product and customer value proposition, loyalty programme and other details” would be announced in the coming weeks.
Since the previous incarnation of the carrier ceased flights, many of its international and domestic airport slots were redistributed to other airlines. It is expected that the new Jet will start with domestic services on the Delhi (DEL)-Mumbai (BOM) trunk route, before adding more domestic and short-haul international flights.
According to data from OAG Schedules Analyser, Jet Airways had a 14% capacity share of available seats in India’s domestic market in 2018, second to IndiGo. However, its share had been steadily eroded in prior years, dropping from 22% in 2012.
Looking at Jet’s largest routes by capacity in 2018, its top five were all domestic, led by Mumbai-Delhi with 1.98 million available seats. In second was Mumbai-Bengaluru (BLR) with 1.28 million and third was Mumbai-Chennai (MAA).
On the international front, Mumbai-London Heathrow (LHR) has the most capacity with 757,700 seats, followed by Mumbai-Dubai (DXB) with 744,800.
Jet will reenter a domestic market that currently sees competition from 11 airlines, let by IndiGo with a 55.3% capacity share of all seats within the country during May 2022. Go First is the second-largest domestic operator with a 10.4% share, OAG data shows, followed by SpiceJet with 9.4%.
However, Jet is not the only carrier poised to launch operations in India over the coming months. Akasa Air is also readying to begin commercial flights during the third quarter and expects to take delivery of its first aircraft in mid-June.
The startup initially plans to serve routes between metro to Tier 2 and 3 cities in India before expanding internationally in 2023. Last November, the carrier ordered 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to be delivered over the next five years.