Mumbai: A meeting of top officials of India's largest private carriers Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines on late Monday has taken the domestic aviation industry by surprise. The meeting appears to be an initial attempt to strike an operational alliance which will allow both carriers to tide over the turbulent phase through which the aviation industry is passing through
Rising crude prices, input costs and declining passenger numbers have put the aviation industry into a tailspin and carriers around the world are reworking strategies to scrape through the downturn.
Though no details are available as to the nature of the alliance both private carriers may seek to strike up, industry sources suggest it could likely entail code share, ground handling, sales, frequent flier programmes and rationalisation of domestic and international routes.
Jet and Kingfisher together have a combined market share of about 60 per cent.
The Monday meet between the two dominant private carriers is probably the end result of an idea floated by Jet promoter Naresh Goyal in July last year, when he proposed an alliance with state-owned Air India aimed at enhancing market share of Indian carriers.
On the flip side, such an alliance may assume monopolistic overtones as this tie-up could lead to an increase in airfares as both the private carriers hold a combined market share of 60 per cent.