JetLite budget flights to Doha, Dubai, Kuwait to be launched

27 January, 2008:

India’s largest private airline Jet Airways is expected to announce the launch of new budget services to the Middle East. As per reports, the company’s no frills subsidiary JetLite (India) Ltd might begin flying to the Middle East as early as March 2008.

The move may provide competition to the state budget carriers, which currently monopolize the route. It is expected that JetLite would have daily flights from India's west coast to as many as four cities, including Dubai, Doha and Kuwait City. The carrier however still awaits approval from the government for its plans.

The reports added that by becoming the first non-government budget carrier to fly the Mid East route, it would eat into the domain held by the state carriers. Parent company, Jet Airways, had earlier in January 2008 become the first non-government Indian airline to fly to the Gulf. Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways are also increasing flights to India from the Middle East, home to some 4 million Indian workers.

The plans come following realization that there is tremendous opportunity for budget carriers on the route. As price would play an important factor, it is likely that the budget carrier would see much gain on this route. Air India Express, the budget-airline unit of the nation's biggest overseas carrier, is currently the only Indian low-fare airline flying the route. Air Arabia PJSC, a low-cost carrier based in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, flies to Indian cities including Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. Air India and Indian Airlines have daily flights to the region.

According to the International Air Transport Association, the Middle East's international passenger traffic rose 19 percent in the first 11 months of last year. JetLite is expected to capitalize on the undersupply by private airlines.

JetLite currently flies to 30 destinations in India and also to Kathmandu, Nepal, and Colombo. It has plans to start flights to Bangkok in the second quarter of 2008.





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