June 18, 2008

Jet Airways Eyes Code Sharing in China

By Saibal Dasgupta

SHANGHAI: Jet Airways is working on plans to ambit in China by entering into code sharing deals with local airlines to connect Mumbai with more cities including Beijing. It is in talks with three major Chinese airlines on deals for exchanging seats and connectivity to different cities in India and China.

"We can offer the whole of India to Chinese carriers. Similarly, we expect them to offer us access to different cities in China," Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer of Jet Airways said after a function to mark the launch of Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco service making Jet the first Indian carrier to connect the three commercial hubs across the world. Talks with Chinese carriers- Air China, China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines-are in different stages of progress and a final decision is awaited, he said.

Jet Airways will also invest as much as $15 million in setting up its own air-cargo unit. The carrier expects to begin flying freighters by the middle of next year.

Jet wants to join state-owned Air India in flying freighters as surging fuel prices and cutthroat competition squeeze margins on passenger flights. The airline's cargo unit will be equipped with at least three leased Boeing Co 737 passenger planes converted into freighters, Raghavan said. The planes will be taken from JetLite, the carrier's low-fare unit.

The carrier also plans to find new sources of revenue, possibly including selling advertising on boarding passes and its Web site, Raghavan said. Charging for check-in luggage may be considered as well, he added.

(c) 2008 The Times of India. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.