Working on its plan to save costs and rationalise operations, Jet Airways has cancelled over 300 flights in February and March as the airline tweaks its network.
About 60 flights scheduled for February 28 have been cancelled.
While the Jet Airways website says that the flights have been cancelled due to 'operational reasons', an executive added that these are planned ones and both the regulator DGCA and customers have been informed.
"Many of the cancelled flights have been re-routed over hubs, and many can still go back to the system," said a senior airline executive. The cancellations, the person reiterated, shouldn't be linked with the grounding of the airline's aircraft.
Moneycontrol had reported on Wednesday that as many as 42 aircraft, a third of its fleet, could be grounded.
Additionally, nearly 100 flights were also impacted by the runway closure in Mumbai, and part closure of the Bengaluru airport due to the Aero India 2019 show. The runway in Mumbai is closed for four hours, three days a week, till the end of March.
The restructuring happens even as Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal and Eithad Airways CEO Tony Douglas met top officials of State Bank of India on February 27. Etihad owns 24 percent stake in Jet Airways. SBI is the lead lender to the airline.
Industry executives said the meeting intended to put finishing touches on the resolution plan that was cleared by the Jet Airways' board, and also got the nod of its shareholders, earlier in February.
The Indian airline, which has over Rs 8,000 crore in debt, is looking for urgent liquidity infusion to pay its pilots, engineers and make payments to its lessors.Network modificationJet Airways had in 2018 announced plans to save up to Rs 2,000 crore in costs over two years. This followed consecutive quarters of huge losses.
Integral to this plan was to rationalise its operations, including closing stations, shutting down routes and reworking network around its two hubs: Mumbai and Delhi.
The network modification has led to longer duration cancellation of flights. For instance, the airline will not have a direct flight between Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru till October 26. Instead, fliers can take stopover flights from Mumbai, for both destinations.
Some of the stations, including Thiruvananthapuram, have also been closed down. And in others, while the centres have not been shut, the crew has been shifted to other stations.
The airline has also stopped direct flights to the Middle East from Kerala, and has instead routed them via Mumbai.
The airline also shut services to some of the North-East destinations, including Silchar, Imphal and Jorhat. But it continues to fly to Guwahati.The tweaking of the network will continue, said industry executives, and customers have been advised to check for updates.