Jet Airways India Ltd. is preparing to redesign its first- and business-class cabins to compete with Emirates Airline and Singapore Airlines Ltd., people familiar with the plans said.
The Indian airline is working with Boeing Co. to introduce roomier seats, equipped with larger in-flight entertainment systems, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. The company, 24 percent owned by Etihad Airways PJSC, also plans to upgrade the in-flight menu and wine selection, the people said.
Pressure is building on the unprofitable Indian carrier, which is forecasting to post losses until 2017, to upgrade its cabins after Emirates and Singapore Air said in May they’re revamping their seats. Jet Air Chairman Naresh Goyal said this week that the company was working on a soon-to-be-announced new product, though he didn’t provide details.
Jet Air’s cabin changes will focus on its 10 existing Boeing 777s and future 787 Dreamliners, the first of which are expected to be delivered in 2017, the people said. The airline plans to retire its 12 Airbus Group NV A330s after the Dreamliners arrive, one of the people said.
In addition to the changes to the cabin seats, Jet plans to lease Airbus A380s from Etihad, once the Abu Dhabi-based airline starts receiving the superjumbo jets, one person said.
Jet Airways spokeswoman Srirupa Sen said she couldn’t immediately comment, while Ken Morton, a Sydney-based spokesman for Boeing, said the aircraft maker is always working with customers.
India is one of the world’s most expensive markets for airlines. They must pay state taxes of as much as 30 percent on jet fuel, which usually makes up about half a carrier’s costs.