India-China flights (Mumbai-Shanghai) from Jet Airways by end-2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 3:44 by Aviation Correspondent

India’s biggest domestic airline, Jet Airways has announced that it plans to meet the growth in demand on the India-China route, by having direct flights between the two countries by the end of 2011.

The new flights will start off through a once a day service operating between Mumbai and Shanghai, to facilitate the increasing demand for business travel between these two destinations. The carrier also hopes to add services to other Asian and European cities like Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris by April, 2011. Officials at the airline say that these new routes are expected to boost Jet Airways’ annual revenue by 15%.

Jet Airways was previously operating flights to China, but shut down the Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco flight due to the slowing down of demand following the global recession. Now, since incomes are rising in both India and China, which are both rapidly growing economies; and business travel is gaining in these markets, the carrier considers it the apt time to resume services to China. According to figures released by the foreign ministry in China, trade between India and China is expected to reach $60 billion this year.

The Asia region has consistently been a good market for both full-service as well as low cost carriers, and analysts expect that the region will continue to show growth through 2011 as well. When travel demand picked up after the economic crisis, Jet Airways enjoyed a net income of 124 million rupees ($2.8 million), in the quarter ending in September 2010, compared with a loss of 4.1 billion rupees a year earlier.

Sources at the airline say that return tickets on the new routes will be priced at approximately 5% more than the fares being offered by their competitors on this route. The new flights will be starting at the time when the  carrier stands to begin receiving their Airbus SAS A330 aircraft.

Currently the carrier services 67 cities with the 95 aircraft on its fleet and has revealed that it has plans to increase passenger and cargo capacities internationally. Sources say that the carrier will be receiving in 2011 four of its Boeing 777s that have currently been leased to Turkish Airlines.