Mumbai: Jetlite, the new avatar of recently acquired carrier Air Sahara, will cost Jet Airways $40 million to re-brand, which it hopes to recover to a great extent from vendors and service providers, according to airline officials. Jet Airways had purchased the airline from the Sahara Group for Rs1,400 crore in February this year.
As an all economy-class airline, JetLite will be run as an independent point-to-point carrier with domestic as well as international operations.
As part of the exercise to integrate operations, and also to provide a new face to the acquired entity, about two lakh members of Air Sahara's frequent flier programme, Cosmos, will now be integrated into Jet's own programme, Jet Privilege.
This exercise is expected to take another two or more quarters, according to airline sources.
According to Jet sources, the current focus for the airline is to get all the aircraft flying. Seventeen of the airline's 24 aircraft are currently operational, and the rest are expected to be in the air by October.
Air Sahara had ten Boeing 737s on order, which are scheduled for delivery in 2009. The Jet management is now examining if more aircraft need to be leased in the interim.
According to airline sources, the airline's fares will be about 15-20% lower than that of Jet Airways, which would still make them higher by the same margin as compared to those of some low cost competitors.
Meanwhile Air Sahara's staff has been cut by 60%, and only 2,100 of the original 4,100 employees have been retained. It is being given to understand that contracts and lease rentals for the CRJ aircraft have also been renegotiated at lower costs.