Jet seeks to ‘enhance presence’ in US market

The Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways would soon draw up plans to expand in the US skies following the restoration last week by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of India’s aviation safety rating to Category-1, sources have said.

The airline would also take on board its strategic investment partner Etihad while carrying out the exercise to avoid any “cannibalisation” of routes, they said.

Jet Airways currently operates a daily direct service from New Delhi to Newark while Etihad, which holds a 24% stake in Goyal’s airline, flies to six US cities.

“The US market throws up a lot of opportunities and we would like to enhance our presence there. There are no immediate plans as such but we will definitely chalk out one soon,” airline sources told PTI here.

The Mumbai-based private airline had to put on hold its plans to restart its New York flight and commence air services to Chicago after the downgrade early last year, which also barred domestic carriers from launching new services to the US or enter into codeshare agreements with airlines there.

It may also be noted here that Etihad had launched its services to Chicago and New York using Jet Airways wide-body Boeing 777-300ERs.

Besides, United Airlines, which had a codeshare agreement with Jet Airways, had also suspended the pact as soon as India’s aviation safety rating was brought on a par with countries like Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh in January of last year.

Interline and code shares are commercial agreements which allow one airline to sell tickets on flights operated by a partner airline.

According to FAA annual aviation projections, presented last month, US airlines are expected to transport 1-billion passengers per year by 2029 and a total of 1.5 billion by 2035.

In the period between 2014-2035, US carrier passenger will grow by an average 2.2% every year, the forecast had said.