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Airlines focus on new products, better service as competition heats up

Established domestic airlines are revamping their products and increasing capacity as competition heats up with the  newest airline Vistara set to start flights on January 9.

GoAir said it is launching new products and services from March while Jet Airways, which shelved its no-frills model Konnect earlier this month, has launched a ‘Guest First’ programme to improve customer service. Jet is also refurbishing aircraft cabins and improving its in-flight menu.

IndiGo and Jet are also adding capacity with new flights from Mumbai and Delhi. However IndiGo and Jet sources claim that capacity addition is not being done to thwart Vistara’s plans.

“We have strengthened our corporate business. We have a good product, convenient schedules and improved on time performance. We will be launching a new service from March,” said GoAir chief executive officer Giorgio De Roni, but declined to elaborate on what it would be. 

“Our forward bookings for January-March 2015 have grown 40 per cent compared to this year. We have sold a lakh additional seats for January-March travel,” he added. The airline earns about 20% of its revenue from corporate sales. 

GoAir aims to increase its revenue by over 36% and carry over 6.7 million passengers in 2014-15, De Roni said earlier this year.   In 2013-14, the airline carried 5.5 million passengers.

IndiGo and Jet are also ramping up capacity on domestic network, including new flights from Delhi. Jet is looking to use wide body planes on high demand routes.

Vistara, which has two Airbus 320 planes and will add three more craft by end of March 2015, begins its service on January 9 linking Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. 

Market leader IndiGo, which operates over 550 flights daily with 86 Airbus A320 planes, has added a seventh daily flight from Delhi to Hyderabad and Chennai. 

It is also adding its 15th daily frequency between Mumbai-Delhi, 11th daily flight between Mumbai-Bangalore and recently started a new service to Kozhikode. 

Jet Airways is operating wide body Airbus A330 on Delhi-Bangalore and Delhi-Chennai routes to meet peak season demand and has added new flights between Chennai-Kochi, Mumbai-Kolkata and Mumbai-Goa.

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