Jet Airways is a major Indian airline based in Mumbai. It is the second largest airline in India, both, in terms of market share and passengers carried, after IndiGo. It operates over 300 flights daily to 74 destinations worldwide. Its main hub is Mumbai, with secondary hubs at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru.
Jet Airways was incorporated as an air taxi operator on 1 April 1992. It started commercial operations on 5 May 1993 with a fleet of four leased Boeing 737-300 aircraft from Malaysia Airlines. In January 1994 a change in the law enabled Jet Airways to apply for scheduled airline status, which was granted on 4 January 1995. Naresh Goyal – who already owned Jetair (Private) Limited, which provided sales and marketing for foreign airlines in India – set up Jet Airways as a full-service scheduled airline to compete against state-owned Indian Airlines. Indian Airlines had enjoyed a monopoly in the domestic market between 1953, when all major Indian air transport providers were nationalised under the Air Corporations Act (1953), and January 1994, when the Air Corporations Act was repealed, following which Jet Airways received scheduled airline status.
Jet began international operations from Chennai to Colombo in March 2004. The company is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, but 80% of its stock is controlled by Naresh Goyal (through his ownership of Jet's parent company, Tailwinds). It has 13,177 employees (as at 31 March 2011). In January 2006 Jet Airways announced that it would buy Air Sahara for US$500 million in an all-cash deal, making it the biggest takeover in Indian aviation history. It would have resulted in the country's largest airline but the deal fell through in June 2006. On 12 April 2007 Jet Airways agreed to buy out Air Sahara for INR14.5 billion (US$340 million). Air Sahara was renamed JetLite, and was marketed between a low-cost carrier and a full service airline. In August 2008 Jet Airways announced its plans to completely integrate JetLite into Jet Airways. In October 2008, Jet Airways laid off 1,900 of its employees, resulting in the largest lay-off in the history of Indian aviation.
However the employees were later asked to return to work; Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said that the management reviewed its decision after he analysed the decision with them. Jet Airways and their rival Kingfisher Airlines announced an alliance which primarily includes an agreement on code-sharing on both domestic and international flights, joint fuel management to reduce expenses, common ground handling, joint utilisation of crew and sharing of similar frequent flier programmes. On 8 May 2009 Jet Airways launched its low-cost brand, Jet Konnect. The decision to launch a new brand instead of expanding the JetLite network was taken after considering the regulatory delays involved in transferring aircraft from Jet Airways to JetLite, as the two have different operator codes. The brand was launched on sectors that had 50% or less load factor with the aim of increasing it to 70% and above. Jet officials said that the brand would cease to exist once the demand for the regular Jet Airways increases.
According to a PTI report, for the third quarter of 2010, Jet Airways (Jet+JetLite) had a market share of 22.6% in terms of passengers carried, thus making it a market leader in India, followed by Kingfisher Airlines with 19.9%. In July 2012, Jet Airways officially sought government approval to join Star Alliance. In June 2011, Jet Airways was the first domestic airline to ban carrying fish, crab, meat, poultry products and liquid items as check-in baggage. Early in 2013, Etihad Airways, one of the flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates based in Abu Dhabi, planned to buy a stake in Jet Airways. On 24 April 2013, Jet announced that they were ready to sell a 24% stake to Etihad for US$379 million. Earlier, in September 2012, the government of India announced that foreign airlines could take a stake of up to 49% in Indian airlines, thereby making this deal possible. Etihad, which had already purchased stakes in four other loss-making airlines, said they were "concentrating on future potential rather than past performance", and were ready to take the stake in Jet. Initially, Jet announced that they were likely to sign the stake sale deal with Etihad between 22 January and 3 February, which they later confirmed to as 25 January. However, that date passed and the deal was further postponed.
Meanwhile, Jet Airways concentrated well on revenues, costs and network side, which resulted in the airline making profits for the first time since the rupee depreciation. Nikos Kardassis, the Chief Executive Officer of Jet Airways, said "The combined impact of higher yields and lower costs (ex-fuel) have resulted in significantly lowering the breakeven seat factor levels in the business." The airline announced a sale on its website, which offered two million seats for travel within India, till 31 December 2013.