Jet becomes first Indian private carrier to launch Gulf operations


New Delhi : Jet Airways Saturday became the first Indian private carrier to operate in the Gulf sector, launching four daily direct flights from India to Kuwait and Bahrain.

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“People travelling in this sector can now expect better services with Jet Airways commencing its services,” Director General of Civil Aviation Kanu Gohain said here inaugurating the Delhi-Kuwait-Delhi flight.

The other three flights launched Saturday are the Kochi-Kuwait-Kochi, Kochi-Bahrain-Kochi and Mumbai-Bahrain-Mumbai.

“With the launch of these services, there will be 1,500 additional seats every week in the Gulf sector,” Gohain said.

There are around five million expatriate Indians in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Speaking on the occasion, P.K. Sinha, Jet Airways vice-president for international relations and industry affairs, said, “This is a landmark event in the history of our airline. Our expansion in the Gulf sector will be rapid.”

Stating that the Gulf has always been a promising sector in the airline industry, Sinha said, “We have noticed that most airlines operating through the Gulf sector are not primarily focusing on people travelling on this sector but on passengers going to UK and Europe using the Gulf as a hub. We aim to fill this gap.”

He added that the airline would provide passengers on its Gulf routes high standard services.

“We’ll create and provide a standard in the Gulf sector as high as we provide in our flights to New York, London and Brussels.”

There have been frequent allegations of shoddy service by national carrier Air India on the Gulf routes.

Sinha said that Jet’s ticket fares in this new sector would be higher than the lowest fares.

“We are looking at the business, VFR (visiting friends and relatives) classes and so our fares cannot be the lowest. The low fare airlines are there to look after that (low fare passengers) sector,” he said, adding that the fares will be in the Rs.15,000-Rs.30,000 range.

Talking about the airline’s plans in the Gulf, he said, “We will be starting our operations to Muscat (in Oman) and Doha (in Qatar) later this month. Thereafter we expect to start operations to Abu Dhabi and Dubai but those are subject to clearance by the regulatory authorities in the two countries (India and the United Arab Emirates).”

A Jet official later told IANS that the airline would be launching its operations to Muscat and Doha Jan 23.