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Jet cuts foreign routes, group CEO quits

Last updated on: February 18, 2009 14:40 IST

Jet Airways group CEO Ravi Chaturvedi has resigned with effect from April 1. Amid difficult times for the aviation industry, Jet Airways has cut three of its biggest loss-making international routes and plans to lease four wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft, besides phasing out three Boeing 737 planes. 

When contacted, the private air-carrier's chairman Naresh Goyal confirmed the resignation. "Chaturvedi is my good friend and has quit only to join his family in the United States," Goyal told PTI on phone from Malaysia.

Chaturvedi, who had joined Jet Airways in October last year from FMCG major Procter & Gamble, however, declined to comment on his resignation. Earlier, in July 2008, JetLite CEO Maunu von Lueders had resigned.

In the last two years, the private air-carrier has witnessed exits of several top management personnel – which the company described as normal in the industry.

The carrier, which has been overtaken last month by Kingfisher as the largest airline, discontinued the Amritsar-London-Amritsar route in December, Bombay-Shanghai-San Francisco and Bangalore-Brussels sectors in January as part of its network rationalisation exercise.

"These were the highest loss-making routes. This will, therefore, help us reduce losses further in the next few quarters," Jet Airways CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schaeur told investors.

Commenting on the fleet rationalisation programme undertaken by the company for the ongoing quarter, he said: "We will lease out another Boeing 777 aircraft, this is aircraft number three (third to be leased out) to Turkish Airlines. Starting April, the plans are to lease out four more Boeing 777.

"In addition we will be phasing out our three Boeing 737 classic aircraft, whose leases expire in Q4 of FY 2009, and not replace them."

In December, Jet had leased out two Airbus A330 aircraft to Gulf Air and another two Boeing 777s on wet lease to Turkish Airlines.

The carrier had recently announced plans to give two Airbus A 330-200 aircraft to Oman Air on wet lease for a period of six months, with effect from May, under its route rationalisation and cost-cutting exercise.

Prock-Schaeur also said the carrier has "rightsized its capacity on the North American routes for which it will only use Airbus A330 planes".

In its third quarter results, Jet had said its international routes had incurred a loss of Rs 119.1 crore (Rs 1.19 billion) in the quarter ended December 31, 2008, against a loss of Rs 115.9 crore (Rs 1.15 billion) in the same period last fiscal.

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