by Elton Gomes
Jet Airways will soon stop serving free meals to flyers who choose to fly under its ‘economy light’ and ‘economy deal’ options from September 25. The airline however said that complimentary beverages, including tea and coffee, will be continued for all passengers.
The Naresh Goyal-owned private carrier is under financial stress on account of a rise in fuel prices and cut-throat competition from budget carriers. On-board flyers at Jet Airways flights have been known to get complimentary meals irrespective of class or fare. After making the in-flight meal optional, the airline said that flyers will not only be able to avail competitive low fares, but they will also have the chance to buy meals from a specially curated on-board menu.
“From September 25, guests travelling in the Economy and booking ‘Light’/ ‘Deal’ fares for travel from September 28 on its domestic flights, will not only be able to avail of competitive low fares but have the opportunity to buy meals from a specially curated on-board menu,” Jet Airways said, PTI reported.
The move comes two years after the airline introduced Fare Choices — a flexible, tier-based, fare-choice system that aimed to help flyers customise their travel needs by choosing the fare that suits them.
Raj Sivakumar, senior vice-president for sales & distribution, said that the airline took the decision owing to the fact that passengers like to be empowered and exercise their right of choice.
The move could also be seen as a cost-cutting measure after the airline reported net losses worth Rs 1,323 crore from April to June due to rising fuel cost and other expenses on account of the falling rupee. The cash crunch has forced Jet Airways to find new cost-cutting measures and stake sale in its loyalty programme, Jet Privilege, in order to raise sufficient funds.
Income Tax department to survey Jet Airways accounts
On Wednesday, the Income tax (I-T) department conducted a survey of Jet Airways’ accounts across its offices in Mumbai and Delhi. This survey comes at a time when the government is investigating allegations of money being siphoned off from the airline.
“A survey has been carried out at two premises in Mumbai and two in Delhi. This is for verification of expenses,” an income tax official who was familiar with the matter told the Economic Times.
Confirming the development, Jet Airways said in a statement, “Income Tax officials are conducting a survey at Jet Airways’ office.”
The private airlines has been under immense financial stress and recently introduced a pay cut for its employees. The airline reported significant losses and was constantly looking for cost-cutting measures.
Jet Airways to consider cost-cutting measures
In August, PTI reported that the board of Jet Airways would consider cost reduction initiatives and turnaround plan along with the June quarter results at its meeting on August 27. The private carrier has been struggling financially and has been constantly looking for ways to reduce costs in the face of intense competition.
On August 9, the airline’s board of directors postponed announcement of unaudited financial results for the June quarter and announced that the same would be taken up on August 27.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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