India's latest airline will now fly in a swirl of blue. Four months after being taken over by Jet, the erstwhile Air Sahara in its new avatar as JetLite is already showing signs of perking up while readying its new livery.
According to acting chief executive Gary Kingshott, the airline has better yield and load factors than Air Sahara did at this time last year. "So far, we have been doing very well. I have been threatening my friends in Jet Airways that in five years time, we might just take away all the new aircraft that they have ordered because we might be doing far better than them," he said.
The fledgling airline is now all set to fly out in its brand new livery. Business Standard has exclusive pictures of an artist's illustration of the painted aircraft.
The first aircraft in the fleet is likely to be painted this month and the rest by January. So far, the fleet that was inherited by Jet Airways has been flying with the Air Sahara livery.
"We have no intention of grounding the aircraft just to repaint them. They will be painted as and when they undergo routine grounding for maintenance. By January, most of the repainting should be over," said Kingshott. Kingshott added that the designs for the airline furniture and the crew uniform were also complete and would be done in a phased manner.
The airline is being branded as a value carrier as against a low cost carrier like SpiceJet or IndiGo. The cost of the tickets will be on par with the LCC, but, unlike other LCC, some basic refreshments like sandwiches and coffee will be served during the flight for which the passengers will not have to pay.
The airline has also decided to do away with the business class and turn an all economy carrier.
The carrier faces the challenge of shaking off the image that Air Sahara carried of being inefficient and plagued with delays besides trying to plug the revenue holes. Some Air Sahara features will still remain.
The crew will wear blue saris to emphasise the sense of 'Indian hospitality' that Air Sahara was successful in creating. The route realisation will be planned at a group level and a schedule coordinating the group will be formed, which will minimise competition between Jet Airways and JetLite.
Air Sahara was taken over by Jet Airways in April 2007 for Rs 1,450 crore (Rs 14.5 billion) after an aborted attempt in 2006.