Struggling to keep it afloat in the wake of a dismal financial performance in the last three quarters, Jet Airways is withdrawing its flight services on as many as seven Gulf routes from this month, a source said.
The Naresh Goyal-controlled airline will not operate as many as 39 services per week to Doha, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai from various domestic cities.
Once a key market for Jet Airways, the lower demand and high competition have made a good number of routes in the Gulf economically unviable, forcing the airline to withdraw operations from there, the source said.
Notably, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways holds 24 per cent stake in the domestic full service carrier.
"Jet Airways has decided to withdraw its services to Doha from Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram as well as to Abu Dhabi from Lucknow and Mangalore. Besides, the airline will also not operate on Mangalore-Dubai route. All these services are being taken out of operations from December 5," a source told PTI.
This apart, the air services on Delhi-Muscat route are also being withdrawn from this month, he said.
The airline currently operates one daily service each on Kochi-Doha, Mangalore-Abu Dhabi, Mangalore-Dubai and Lucknow-Abu Dhabi. The Kozhikode-Doha and Delhi-Muscat is four days per week operations while Thiruvanathapuram-Doha services are three times per week.
Jet Airways in its response said Gulf operations are being optimised to focus on connectivity at its hubs in Mumbai and Delhi instead of point-to-point connectivity. The airline also said it will be enhancing frequency on Mumbai- Doha, Delhi-Doha as well as Mumbai-Dubai routes.
"Jet Airways has undertaken a comprehensive review of its network, whereby it will move capacity from uneconomical routes to more profitable ones, to more closely align the capacity offered with the demand characteristics of specific markets," Jet Airways said in a statement to PTI.
"It is important to note that the scale of the airline's operations will remain unaffected," it added.
Jet Airways posted a net loss of Rs 1,261 crore during the September quarter. This was the airline's third successive quarterly loss. Amid cash paucity, it has been defaulting on salary payments to 15 per cent of its work force, primarily senior management, pilots and engineers.
The airline has been saying for quite some time now it is in "active discussion" with various investors to secure financing to navigate through current headwinds and create long-term growth.