Recap: The wisdom behind Jet Airways’ 3 airline brands lies in the 2009 period when air travel went down with the downturn. Jet Airways (9W) was always a full-service carrier on the domestic and international traffic out of India. JetLite (S2) was called Air Sahara, till 2007 when Jet Airways bought it out and converted it into a low-fare carrier (branded JetLite). Jet Airways always wanted to integrate both the carriers, except that there was a tax liability which hasn’t been settled 7 years down the line, and hence S2 has not been folded into the main carrier 9W.
Jet Konnect was the new brand from Jet Airways, which was launched in 2009. Jet Airways wanted to create a temporary brand which would carry low-fare traffic, while not spoiling the main brand of Jet Airways. Hence, it stickered on Konnect on some of its planes, converted them into all economy seats and flew on low fares, without meals and IFE etc. This strategy held them in good stead for a long time, since the domestic market moved towards low-fare travel and Air India kept fares artificially low. 9WK was helping the planes go full and the airline get the best out of its birds. Slowly, 60-70 percent of Jet Airways services went low-fare under Konnect, and when the happy days were back, some routes became full-service again.
Now: While the strategy played out well for Jet Airways financially and strategically, it was a marketing and perception nightmare. Most flyers were confused which product they were flying. In the midst of flying low-fare, Jet Airways added 8 business class seats back to all the ‘all-economy’ planes, and frequently, you could be on a full-service flight with not enough business seats or an all-economy flight with a business class, where the business class was also given to economy passengers. It was a mess since Jet Airways mixed up the use of Jet Airways and the Jet Konnect brand very frequently, unapologetically.
To fix up things, Jet Airways finally decided to simplify its offering into full-service and low-fare in July 2011. Accordingly, Jet Airways was going to be the premium full-service brand, operating under the 9W call sign domestically and internationally. JetLite and Jet Konnect were going to be merged into Jet Konnect. Everyone assumed that S2 will get the Jet Konnect tag.
Jet Airways has decided to implement this move from the summer schedule starting March 25, 2012 and brought out a press release to this effect today. The key takeaways are:
- Jet Konnect will be the brand that stays and JetLite will be the brand that goes away
- Jet Konnect will fly under the sign S2 as well as 9W, and you’ll be able to buy these flights interchangeably
- Jet Konnect will have its own new website at JetKonnect.com. If you try to head up to JetLite.com, you’ll be redirected here
- Some Jet Konnect flights will still offer 8 business class seats (Premiere)
- Jet Konnect flights will be marked by flight numbers 9W 2xxx and S2 4xxx. Jet Airways full-service will continue to have flight numbers in the series 9W xx and 9W xxx.
- The crew uniform will be harmonised with Jet Airways, and all crew get the same blue and yellow uniform, which I think was smarter than the saris of JetLite
- Jet Konnect tickets go on sale from March 20, 2012 and for travel after March 25, 2012
The airline is quiet about the changes to the frequent flyer program Jet Privilege and the website does not reflect any news about this either.
What’s changed and what’s not?
Jet Airways has gone the extra mile this time to commit itself to the new brand by changing the livery, a bit. However, this is basically a cross-job between rebranding (Jet Konnect) and recycling existing livery (JetLite). Here are the logos – old and new:
The color-scheme of the planes is kept simply the old one from JetLite, so it makes it easy to introduce the new ‘livery’ by airbrushing the new logo on the plane. Have a before and after comparison here, of a Boeing 737-800 plane with the registration VT-SJI. Not much of a difference, yeah?
So, like you see, the commitment is on from Jet Airways, however, this is not going to take away much monetarily from them. Smart move I say, what do you think?
(Images of VT-SJI courtesy their respective copyright holders)