Mumbai loses another jewel

Jet Airways is not quite a jewel. Once India’s largest airline with most modern fleet, best on time performance and unmatched in flight service, it slowly started losing ground to mainly Indigo and also to late entrants such as Vistara.

I think the fall of Jet should be made a case study as towards the end how it fell like nine pins should be a learning for other corporates who could be enjoying market leadership today but who could meet the same fate as Jet if the same mistakes are repeated. Kingfisher’s case by now we know as that company went overboard with luxury concept that was not compensated by matching revenues.

But the theme of this blog is not to analyse the reasons that led to failure of these rulers in the sky, but the manner in which Mumbai is fast losing its numero uno position as the airlines hub of the country to New Delhi. In another blog , I expressed my angst at Mumbai losing the spot of the second busiest airport to Bengaluru. It’s not about one India- in fact, Delhi is my place of birth and Bengaluru is pride of this country being the IT hub of the World with the giants like Infosys, Wipro etc headquartered here. It’s about the lost glory and more importantly- an economic issue rather than an emotional matter – the loss of opportunity for growth and development! First Air India shifted its hub from Mumbai to Delhi and we know how its properties, including the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point lost their importance. Kingfisher had hub at Bengaluru but had significant presence in Mumbai. Ditto Indigo. Vistara, a TATA venture, a group having nerve centre in Mumbai is based out of Gurgaon with hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.

While today’s newspaper broke the good news of Jet Airways under new ownership and management resuming its services from 2022, their decision to have hub in New Delhi was indeed disappointing.

It’s high time that government takes concrete steps to heighten its engagement with business houses and reassure them about business friendly atmosphere in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Other states are wooing Mumbai based industrial houses- special target of such friendly overtures is Bollywood. Mumbai bereft of Air India is fine – but Bollywood is the heart and soul of this city.

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