Jet Airways launched a third daily flight on Mumbai-London Heathrow route in the winter of 2017. Delta provided slots to Jet Airways to start this frequency as a part of their enhanced partnership with Jet Airways. Yesterday, I wrote about how Jet Airways was accepting bookings for 9W 116/115 Mumbai-London Heathrow in full fare which sort of signal, that they might be shutting the frequency down.
It turned out to be true. Jet Airways has stopped accepting bookings for 9W 116/115 on Mumbai-London Heathrow route from March 31, 2019.
Bookings for 9W 116/115 is available for Winter 2019 season though from October 27, 2019, onwards. It may be the case that Jet Airways is expecting to stabilise domestic operations now and then return to the third flight shortly after.
With this move, Jet Airways will be down to twice daily Mumbai – London Heathrow flights and a single daily Delhi – London Heathrow flight. Jet Airways will still be the largest Indian carrier operating to London in terms of the number of available seats but by a minimal margin of 14 seats per day.
In a letter sent out by Naresh Goyal to the employees on the occasion of New Year’s, he mentioned that London operations were moneyspinners for the airline.
Our London route remains our premium revenue earner. We are focusing on Amsterdam and Paris routes to heighten passenger loads and enhance yields in a highly competitive market.
Then why would Jet Airways reduce flights to London Heathrow? International operations contribute to 58% of Jet Airways total revenue. And now Jet Airways has stopped flights to Manchester, downgraded Singapore and Doha routes, reduced frequency on many other routes, stopped Hong Kong routes for a brief period and so-on.
Jet Airways has also permanently transferred the slots back to Delta. This raises questions. Did Delta request the slots back? It looks like at short notice it has been done, no long haul flights would be started on this slot, instead, a short haul flight would be worked out to hold the slot.
Jet Airways has already grounded 2 777-300ER aircraft, one being used as spares pool in addition to 3 A330s. While I know that some A330 pilots have shifted to IndiGo, are the 777 pilots also leaving Jet Airways? Is a pilot shortage causing Jet Airways to reduce widebody operations? Vistara is looking for 787 pilots and Emirates is also on the lookout for 777 pilots.
This is something that Jet Airways wouldn’t want to do unless some factor forced their hand. Jet Airways was eager on using all the bilateral rights available between Delhi/Mumbai and London Heathrow to deprive Vistara of the privilege of adding flights on these routes. For quite some time, Jet Airways was trying to secure slots to launch a second daily Delhi – London Heathrow flights to use all bilateral rights to London Heathrow and even went head-on against Air India.
Or is this part of Delta’s greater scheme to improve passengers loads on the yet to be announced Delta’s nonstop to India? The third frequency allowed connections to 14 destinations in North America and was perfectly timed for connections.
The third frequency enhances onward connectivity over London Heathrow to North America. With partners Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic it will allow Jet Airways to offer guests improved connection times to 14 destinations over London Heathrow to North America including Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Washington.
It just doesn’t make sense. If Jet Airways did have an aircraft crunch, they would have sacrificed other routes before reducing frequency on Mumbai – London route. For now, it looks like Delta may have taken back the slots against Jet Airways’ wishes. I mean, they are operating a Q400 instead of a larger plane. And not even offering it for sale on their own website at the moment.
What are your thoughts on the latest move from Jet Airways, cutting down on London operations?