India's largest private carrier, Jet Airways, has settled upon Milan as its second international hub, which will be set up for operations by end of 2009. It has also said that it was in talks with Chinese authorities for establishing its third international hub at Shanghai. Jet chairman Naresh Goyal said that a decision from Chinese authorities was expected soon.
Meanwhile, the decision in favour of Milan comes after the airline had considered other European centres such as Paris (France), Munich (Germany) and Milan (Italy) as likely options for its second international hub.
According to chairman, Naresh Goyal, Paris was ruled out considering the tremendous increase in air traffic at this centre, while Munich was no longer an option as Air India had already selected it as their European hub.
Jet intends to build up its international operations by connecting some major Indian cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Kolkata to the United States and Canada. It will also add new destinations like Munich, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Tel Aviv and Johannesburg to its network in an effort to build up its international business.
According to Goyal, the airline's international operations will constitute over 50 per cent of its business over the next two to three years, compared to the current 37 per cent.
He also mentioned that Jet would offer state-of-the-art facilities for its passengers at the Milan airport.
Jet is already operating an international hub from Brussels, Belgium. It aims to serve at least 1 million passengers annually at Brussels by 2010.
Goyal also revealed that the airline was considering setting up another hub at Shanghai.He said that talks with the Chinese authorities were on and a decision was expected very soon. The advantage with a hub at Shanghai was that India-USA (west coast) flights would save two to three hours of flying time as compared to flights through Singapore and Hong Kong.