Jet Airways is curtailing its daily operations to reduce cash burn. The airline is reducing domestic flights in the winter schedule beginning October end and has already begun cancelling flights.
Atleast 20-30 departures are being cancelled daily from metros and key airports including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Aviation analysts point out grounding of planes and poor seat loads as probable reasons for the cancellations.
Two consecutive quarters of steep losses and mounting costs have pushed the airline into a corner. Salaries are being delayed and vendor payments are getting stretched, as the airline looks to renegotiate its contracts and raise fresh capital.
The airline has been discounting forward sales to raise funds and is yet to pay September salaries to its pilots and engineers. Thirteen of its planes including ATRs, Boeing 737s, Airbus A330s and Boeing 777 are on the ground. The airline has a fleet of 124 planes and operates around 650 flights daily.
Aviation analysts say the airline has got into a spiral -– it is not earning enough to cover costs and this has forced it to keep some of its planes on the ground. “While five Boeing 737 Max planes have been inducted, the overall capacity deployed by the airline has not increased because of the groundings,” said Ameya Joshi, founder of aviation blog Network Thoughts.
Jet Airways said that the planes are under maintenance. “As a part of the airline's routine operations the fleet including Boeing 737, Boeing 777, A330 and ATR aircraft are undergoing scheduled maintenance including C-checks,” the airline said.
“In line with practices followed globally, the airline regularly reviews its network to address its capacity exposure to markets and airports,” Jet Airways said, adding that network changes depend upon external factors like crude price, rupee weakness etc.
On Thursday the Directorate General of Civil Aviation approved the domestic winter schedule. In all 23,117 departures per week have been approved which is 22 per cent more than the previous year. Jet Airways departures, however, will see 1.2 per cent reduction.
Jet Airways has inducted five Boeing 737 Max planes in the past four months and said it will be inducting six more by March end 2019. The airline will add a new flight between Pune-Singapore and increase frequency between Delhi-Singapore, it said.