Passengers from Tier-II cities would no longer have to change planes at a metro,if Jet Airways gets the government nod for its plans to mount code- share flights with Gulf carrier Etihad from 23 Indian cities by 2016.
According to the plans submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry,the Naresh Goyal-owned carrier is understood to have sought to connect to 23 cities with Abu Dhabi in the long and medium terms,requiring over 41,000 seats per week over the next three years.
The current bilateral agreement with Abu Dhabi allows Indian carriers to operate merely 13,300 seats each week.
Given the growing needs,Jet suggested that the existing capacity entitlements of Indian carriers under the bilateral agreement be expanded by over 40,000 seats and urged the government to expand the India-Abu Dhabi bilaterals by almost 54,000 seats each week.
Sources said Jet’s plans,if implemented,would finally lead a passenger from cities like Ahmedabad,Lucknow,Chandigarh or Coimbatore to directly fly to the Abu Dhabi gateway instead of metros like Delhi or Mumbai,and changeover for flights to other destinations beyond Gulf.
Apart from neighbouring Gulf nations,the destinations beyond Abu Dhabi would include Cairo,Beirut,Nairobi,Addis Ababa,Najaf and Baghdad (Iraq) and cities in Iran,along with North America and Europe. These operations are akin to the one
Jet is already operating through Brussels.
“Jet Airways has a network strategy and a fleet induction plan to support this growth. The expansion is intended to provide wider consumer choice by connecting 23 cities to the international market,” airline officials said.