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It’s been a turbulent ride for Jet Airways in the last few months. India’s first and oldest private airline, which had been in operation since 1993, temporarily suspended all flights last week on April 17 after failing to secure emergency funding from SBI and other banks. The halt in operations has caused a ripple effect of consequences on the aviation sector, unemployment rates, prices for other airlines—and in some cases, pure nostalgia. Until the airline tries to make stake stale operations and secure funding, here’s the latest update.
Loss of Jobs
More than 22,000 Jet Airways staff, including pilots, crew, ground staff, technicians, face possible unemployment, as they await the fate of Jet Airways to take off again. As per reports, apart from the official employee roll of Jet Airways, the situation could lead to more than double the number of indirect job losses. This includes people such as airport operators, airline food caterers, vendors, etc. On the upside, however, several MNCs and other airline operators have started offering jobs to Jet employees.
Refunding Your Tickets
For those who have bought tickets to now cancelled flights from Jet Airways directly on the official website, app or from the airport counter, there’s some relief. On its official website, Jet has uploaded a Disruption Assistance page on which customers can fill out a form. They can expect to receive a refund within 7-10 working after the form is processed. Access the page here.
Jet Airways has also written an official to all travel agents about initiating the refund process for customers. The email states that it will validate claims for all refunds in 45 days.
If customers have bought tickets from third-party websites such as Cleartrip, Yatra or MakeMyTrip, they are required to get in touch with the travel portals directly.
A large concern for members of Jet Airway’s Jet Privilege is whether their air miles will retain their validity. Jet Privilege is the frequent flyer loyalty programme for Jet, which allows passengers to collect miles against their air travel and redeem it for further flights with Jet Airways or partner airlines or ‘buy’ other rewards.
In a statement issued by Jet Privilege, they state that they “want to reassure you that your JPMiles are secure and their value remains intact.” They speak about their new air reward offering called ‘Select Flights’, which “allows you to redeem your JPMiles across more airlines, any destination in India and globally. What’s more, you can redeem your JPMiles for any seat available on the flight, starting with the same JPMiles requirement as before which was applicable on Jet Airways and its partner airlines.”
Increase In Airline Prices
As expected, with the suspension of operations by Jet Airways, there has been a sharp increase in demand for flights. This had led to airfares by other airlines sky-rocketing as they struggle to meet this increased demand. This is particularly true in the case of last-minute flights. Reports show that airfares in April 2019 are at least 40 per cent more expensive than they were the same time last year.
However, the Civil Aviation Ministry has asked airlines keep fares in check for less accessible airports and far off locations such as Srinagar, Port Blair, etc.
Since most of the prime flight slots in Delhi, Mumbai and other airports held by Jet Airways have now freed up, the Government has decided to give away most of its slots to other air carriers.
The way forward for Jet Airways is a stake sale. It is waiting for potential bidders to help the cash-strapped company by investing in it. Some of the shortlisted bidders may include Etihad Airways, TPG Capital, Indigo Partners and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). Several private parties, such as a group of Gulf-based investors, and wealthy businessmen have also expressed interest in investing in Jet.
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