Anil Thakraney: Opportunity for Jet to raise the bar

29 Apr,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

If you are a shareholder with Jet Airways, you just made a neat profit. The airline’s share price has shot up by over 20 percent, following the equity participation with Etihad Airways. But this post isn’t about stock prices (which I don’t understand at all), it’s about domestic air travel, and that concerns every single one of us.

 

Am sure Naresh Goyal has exciting international expansion plans in mind with the huge sums he’s pocketed  following the tieup (a jaw-dropping 2000 crore rupees). All that’s very fine. But Jet must use a part of the huge funding to make domestic air travel a better experience for Indian flyers (at a reasonable fare), and thereby dominate the one segment that’s been stagnating in recent times: Full service flights.

 

With the demise of Kingfisher, low-cost carriers have been ruling the Indian skies. Even Jet, which was at one point a full service carrier, had to cut down on frills and promote JetLite and JetKonnect, both low cost options from the group. If you visit their portal and key in any flight schedule, you’ll notice that most options thrown up would be Jet’s budget flights. In short, majority of the market is now dominated by cheap flights, flights where you are forced to pay for a cold, yucky sandwich. And that welcoming cold towel is now a thing of the past.

 

Jet must regain the full service segment, invest in food and service, and with no competition on the horizon, they will own it for a long time to come. They can once again bring back the fun into flying (rather than the ordeal it’s now become), and pamper their guests with some cool frills. This will generate tremendous brand loyalty in the business travelling segment. They must also examine the possibility of providing additional leg room in the ‘cattle class’, that will be a huge draw for cramped flyers. Even Mr Shashi Tharoor would be delighted.

 

In short, here’s hoping that in his quest to make Jet more global, Naresh Goyal doesn’t overlook the opportunity that’s staring at him back home. He’s finally got the moolah to make things happen.

 

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PS: Yet another insensitive ad, this time Hyundai and its German ad agency are the culprits. The ad wants to communicate that the car doesn’t produce carbon monoxide fumes, it only jets out water emissions. And to demonstrate that, they have shown a man trying to commit suicide. Following outrage, the ad has been withdrawn and disowned by Hyundai. The only people who should kill themselves are creators of such utterly irresponsible trash.

 

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