Jet Airways (India) Ltd., the nation’s biggest domestic airline, plans to resume direct flights between India and China next year to meet rising demand for travel between the two countries.
Jet Airways will offer Mumbai-Shanghai service and plans to add flights to cities including Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei and Paris in the year starting April 1, 2011, Bharath Mahadevan, manager for the northeast Asian region, said in an interview in Hong Kong today. The new routes will probably boost annual revenue at least 15 percent, he said.
The airline will begin once-daily service between Mumbai and Shanghai by the end of next year as rising incomes in China and India, Asia’s two fastest growing major economies, prompt more people to travel by air. The gains are fueling a rebound in demand after Jet Air last year halted daily flights from Mumbai to San Francisco via Shanghai to cut costs as a global recession damped travel appetite.
“China is very, very important for us,” Mahadevan said on Bloomberg Television. “North Asia has seen very good growth.”
The airline is adding the Mumbai-Shanghai service as it receives deliveries of 10 Airbus SAS A330 aircraft through 2012, Mahadevan said. The carrier will price return tickets for the flights at least 5 percent above those currently offered by rivals, he said.
Jet Airways rose 2.8 percent to 777.25 rupees as of 10:15 a.m. in Mumbai. The shares have risen 40 percent this year, compared with a 12.9 percent gain on the Bombay Stock Exchange 200 Index.
“Asia has been a great place to be for the full-service carriers and low-cost carriers with the recovery in business traffic and leisure markets,” Derek Sadubin, chief operating officer at consultants Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation, said today on Bloomberg Television. “The hope is that 2011 will be pretty much a continuation of the same.”
Jet Air posted a profit in the fiscal second quarter as travel demand rebounded. Net income totaled 124 million rupees ($2.8 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of 4.1 billion rupees a year earlier.
Typically, the northeast Asia region accounts for 4 percent of Jet Air’s total revenue, of which the Chinese market comprise 20 percent of sales, Mahadevan said.
Jet Air, which operates 95 aircraft in 67 cities, plans to raise international passenger and cargo capacities between 15 percent and 20 percent in the next fiscal year, Mahadevan said. Jet Air will also receive in the fiscal year starting April 1 four Boeing Co. 777 currently leased to Turkish Airlines, he said.
International visitor arrivals to India are expected to increase 4.2 percent next year, according to estimates by the World Travel and Tourism Council. China is expected to receive 7.2 percent more international tourists, it said.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to visit India this week and trade between the two countries is expected to reach $60 billion this year, China’s foreign ministry forecast yesterday.