Jet and Kingfisher take battle to cargo tarmac

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Jan 7 | Updated: Jan 8 2008, 07:05am hrs
Jet Airways and Kingfisher will fight the next round of their battle on the cargo front. Both airlines have charted similar plans to set up a fully-devoted cargo operation, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and cabin crew training centre.

According to a study by Ernst & Young, MRO and allied business in India have the potential to absorb an investment of $5 billion.

Jet Airways CEO Naresh Goyal told FE that by the end of 2008, his airline plans to start cargo operations. We are also in talks with international players to set up an MRO and cabin crew training, back-end and front-end office training centre in India. Without divulging any names of foreign companies with which Jet is in talks with to set up MRO and allied services, Goyal said that many international players are interested in setting up the facility with Jet, and once the name is finalised, he will announce it. The possible location for the venture, he said, could be Nagpur, Chennai or any other metro.

Kingfisher too is moving in this direction at a rapid pace. The airline not only plans to set up 11 cabin crew training schools by February end but is also targeting to launch KingCargo, to make its presence felt in the sector. The airline has already finalised a plot in Bangalore to set up an MRO facility.

Meanwhile, Jet Airways has just started its gulf operations and Kingfisher too is hoping to get permission to fly to the region. On his airline's performing in the new sector, Goyal said that the Mumbai-Bahrain flights launched on January 5 are already booked for the entire week.

We have appointed experienced officials from several gulf-based airlines to look after our operations in the sector, he said. Meanwhile, though Kingfisher is awaiting the civil aviation ministrys nod to fly to the gulf, it has already started scouting for some best brains to manage the operations on which the traffic is growing 20% annually.