Indian carrier Jet Airways, in which Etihad Airways holds a 24 per cent stake, has announced that it would deploy its largest capacity aircraft - Boeing 777-300ER - between Mumbai and Dubai to meet growing demand on the sector.
The airline said with the deployment of the larger capacity airliner, it would continue to remain the largest Indian carrier, offering 70 flights per week, between India and Dubai.
Shakir Kantawala, Jet Airways vice-president for Gulf, Middle East and North Africa, said starting August 6, 2016, Jet Airways 9W 543 Dubai-Mumbai and flight 9W 544 from Mumbai to Dubai and the return leg flight, will be operated on the wide-body jetliner, replacing the narrow-body Boeing 737-800.
"The change will allow the airline to showcase its first class service on the Mumbai-Dubai route. Jet Airways' Boeing 777 service boasts a three-class configuration, consisting of eight first class suites, 30 premiere seats that open out into lie-flat beds, and 308 ergonomically designed seats in economy," Kantawala said in a statement.
"Dubai is among our most popular destinations for business and leisure travellers and it was only logical to increase capacity on flights to this key market. Deploying the 777-300ER aircraft will give our guests flying on the Mumbai-Dubai route the opportunity to sample our signature first class hospitality for the first time, while also delivering a far more comfortable and pleasant flying experience for guests in all classes. Moreover, it will allow us to more than double capacity, addressing the demand for more seats on the route, at a time when trade and investment between India and the UAE is booming," said Kantawala.
"Dubai is a key destination for business and leisure travel from India. With its strategic location, Dubai has become a hub for many global businesses and a go-to destination for Indian professionals. Jet Airways' capacity enhancement comes at a time when India has strengthened its position as one of the UAE's largest trading partners, with bilateral trade at an all-time high," the airline said.
Jet Airways, which operates flights to 68 destinations, including India and across the world, currently operates 10 daily flights between India and Dubai.
Following Jet Airways' equity partnership strategy with Etihad, the Indian carrier recorded a return to profit in 2016 financial year, which ended on March 31.
The airline reported profits of $185 million in its 2016 financial year, compared to a loss of $345 million the year before. Revenue rose 5.9 per cent to $3.4 billion during the same period.
The airline said deploying a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with a bigger belly space enables doubling the daily available cargo capacity on the route.
"Each of the eight first class suites on the Boeing 777 aircraft features an 81-inch long bed, a 23-inch flat screen monitor and carefully-designed storage areas that include a personal hanging wardrobe, dual credenza and under ottoman stowage. Each of these private suites is designed to allow dining for two with a VIP/business jet style table, multiple LED lighting options, variable lumbar support and an eight-point massage system. For those who wish to catch up with work, the first class suites provide power source and telephone connectivity," the airline said.
The Jet Airways Group currently operates a fleet of 116 aircraft, comprising Boeing 777-300 ERs, Airbus A330-200/300, Next Generation Boeing 737s and ATR 72-500/600s. With an average age of 7.07 years, this is one of the youngest fleets in the region.
Apart from Jet Airways, Etihad's partners include airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Regional operated by Darwin Airline, and NIKI.
Source: Khaleej Times