Jet Airways might cut jobs

MUMBAI: India's largest domestic carrier Jet Airways said Friday it may have to cut jobs and flights to curb losses caused by a fall in passengers.

"The company is in the process of rationalising operations. We may need to cut back capacity, which is likely to impact staff operations too," a Jet spokesman said, declining to say how many jobs might be affected.

"Implications in terms of fleet and personnel requirements, both operational and supporting staff, are being finalised," the company added in a statement.

Jet and other Indian carriers are reeling from a fall in passenger traffic amid cooling demand.

The number of domestic flyers dropped 15 percent in April from a year earlier, according to civil aviation figures.

Jet said it was "restructuring activities" in terms of its domestic and international routes as part of a bid to "revive the economic health of the company."

Indian newspapers earlier this month said Jet had laid off over 50 employees, including cabin crew staff, but the airline called the reports "grossly overstated."

The airline has put a freeze on recruitment and on capital expenditure, while pruning executive perks and reducing management salaries. It has also shut its overseas crew bases in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok.

Jet and the rest of the sector are "facing extreme conditions, both in terms of internal competition and external global (slowdown) pressures," said Apurva Shah, head of research at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher.

Jet, which runs the budget carrier Jet Lite, earlier this month introduced no-frills Jet Airways Konnect operating 54 flights daily on 19 routes between 38 cities, as it seeks to boost passenger traffic.

Jet Airways Konnect mostly cover routes not already catered by Jet Lite, with the two no-frills services to account for nearly half of the group's capacity.

Jet's losses doubled in the quarter ending December, hit by high operating costs and lower revenues as air traffic fell due to the global economic slowdown.

The net loss for the three months to December widened to 2.14 billion rupees (44 million dollars) from a net loss of 911.2 million rupees a year earlier.

Jet, which has 86 aircraft, serves 63 destinations, offering 370 flights daily.