Jet Airways, which is co-owned by Etihad Airways, is following a network policy independent of the Gulf airline. In 2013 Abu Dhabi-based Etihad picked up 24 per cent stake in Jet and the relations between the two remain "healthy and strong."
The network strategy is being shaped with the induction of six Boeing 777 aircraft in Jet's fleet at the end of lease with Etihad earlier this year. This has also allowed Jet to expand capacity on key international routes and free some of its Boeing 737 aircraft for use on domestic routes.
Jet now operates double daily between Mumbai-Singapore with wide body Boeing 777 aircraft and is launching a new service between Bengaluru-Singapore. Increased capacity enables Jet to fly more passengers onward from Singapore to Australia, Indonesia and Japan on code share flights and vice versa.
Interline and code shares are commercial agreements which allow an airline to sell tickets of other carriers. While Jet has lost out to IndiGo in the domestic market and its market share has declined to under 15 per cent, it is building a gateway of hubs in India and abroad
"About 50 per cent of passengers on our international flights are connecting in nature," said Abhijit Dasgupta, the airline's vice president for network planning and alliances. This means the passengers connect to/from Jet's network to a partner airline. Two-three years ago the share of the connecting passengers was about 35-40 per cent. Similarly, ten per cent of Jet's total passengers either connect to or come as a feed from partner airlines.
Interline and code shares contributed to about 16 per cent of its passenger revenue in FY16 up from 10 per cent in FY14 and code share passengers rose from 650,000 in FY14 to 2.1 million during the same period. In all the airline flew over 25.6 million passengers in FY16.
In September Jet Airways expanded its code share agreement with Air France-KLM and partnered with Delta to offer better connections to Europe and North America. The strategy also includes developing gateways in Amsterdam, London and Paris where it flies at present.
Jet is also exploring deepening its commercial ties with Air France-KLM and signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture with the airline. In March, Jet shifted its European gateway from Brussels to Amsterdam (which is KLM's hub), indicating its closeness with the two European airlines. And in September Jet changed its schedule of Mumbai-Paris flight to provide more onward connections over Paris.
The airline's whole time director Gaurang Shetty said the partnership with Air France-KLM is progressing well but is too early to talk about the future of the relations when asked about plans for a joint venture.