My dear friends & colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to be with you today to celebrate this very special day of our 20th Anniversary. Anniversaries are all about getting together to rejoice, to celebrate and to feel the strength of our unity. They are also about nostalgia, looking back at happy, emotional memories, at our birth - how it all began for us.
It was one of the most emotional days for all of us that Sunday afternoon 18th April 1993, when our first Boeing 737-300 aircraft leased from Ansette World, landed in Mumbai. Our friend, well-wisher and father of civil aviation in India, the great Mr. J. R. D. Tata and our then Chief Minister the Hon’ble Mr. Sharad Pawar honored us all by gracing the occasion. Their presence had made the day one of the most memorable in the history of our airline and I remember how I and all of us had been deeply touched and moved.
On Wednesday 5th May 1993, exactly 20 years ago, our first flight 9W 3231, operated by Capt. Tom Leach and First Officer R. I. Singh, took off from Mumbai at 5.50 am and landed on schedule at 0650 hours in Ahmedabad. In those days 20 years ago, we were a small but growing organization. It is good to recall our humble beginnings and even better to know that we have never ever taken our success for granted. Instead we have worked harder to retain our customers’ support with dedication, discipline, efficiency and humility. This has been our culture and this culture of quiet humility will carry us forward in the future. One fact we can take pride in is, that our customers became greatly excited at the transformation of their air travel experience across India. Within weeks, thanks to your outstanding service delivery on ground and in the air, they had made Jet Airways their most preferred domestic carrier in India.
In 2004, on Friday the 23rd of March, we added our first international route in the SAARC region, as Capt. N. P. Puri and Capt. D. B. Padhye operated 9W-4101 on the Chennai-Colombo route. The service was airborne 11.40 am Chennai and landed in Colombo at six minutes past noon. Today with our young mixed fleet of wide and narrow-bodied equipment of Boeing and Airbus, we cover over 20 major global markets frequently patronized by Indians and are a recognized brand amongst Indian communities worldwide. Our strategic vision for the future is to connect our domestic network with the world – form a bridge between east and west. As you are aware, we have signed agreements with Etihad Airways regarding their taking 24% stake in the Company. We will expand and transform our home Hubs of Mumbai and Delhi into true connecting hubs, to provide Indian and international customers with efficient and extensive travel choices. And we will continue to stay focused on our roots, the Indian domestic market. We will add more frequencies and provide more connectivity on our regional routes within India, with plans to include more cities in India in our network. Today, as our company moves into its third decade, it is time for us to re-group, gather our strength and start another push to capture a rightful portion of this growing market.
This growth would not be possible without the support of enlightened Government policies. Our deep respects and thanks go out to the statesmanship and vision of our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh whose far-sightedness in 1991 as the then Honorable Minister of Finance, ushered in the revolution of privatization and recently the FDI in civil aviation. History will record the immense benefit resulting from these visionary actions that have transformed the lives of millions, creating jobs, presenting unique and enriching career options, making air travel accessible to the vast majority of our citizens, opening up our beautiful country to global tourists, bringing in its wake a tremendous contribution to the overall economic benefit of our nation. Our thanks go out also to the Honorable Minister of Civil Aviation – Shri Ajit Singhji, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, to the Airports Authority of India, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, officials of Customs, Immigration, and all officials at our airports and connected divisions who have so galvanized the civil aviation sector in India. I would also like here to thank the media for their fair and robust support and coverage given to our growth story since inception 20 years ago.
Today belongs to each one of you, the Jet Airways family. It has been your loyalty, dedication and passion for outstanding service delivery, that have given Jet Airways the stature we cherish today as a world-class airline - a stature enjoyed by few, envied by many. It has been your productivity, performance and success that have drawn the admiration and attention of some of the world’s leading carriers and set service standards which will remain benchmarks for them to try and follow. I well know how many man-hours each of you have loyally and willingly put in, giving our Airline a unique priority in your lives. Across our network, on the ground, in the skies, our ground staff, our flight dispatch teams, our call centre, our cabin crew, our pilots, our engineers, our maintenance folk, our secretaries, our office assistants, our security staff, admin staff, medical teams, training staff, every single one of you have been doing such a selfless tremendous job day by day, year after year. You have all worked hard and intelligently in fair weather or foul, through floods, hot, humid days, snow storms, civil disturbances, across time zones, over festive holidays. You have never flagged in your selfless devotion to duty. For this my heartfelt thanks.
Standing solid behind each of you have been your families, your devoted spouses, children, elders, always waiting for your return from duty, no matter how late, no matter which anniversary, birthday, festive day, holiday you may have missed in the line of duty. To each and every member of your family I dedicate this 20th anniversary of ours, made possible by their wonderful understanding and support. Neeta I thank you, for being a true friend, wife and strongest support I can ever hope to get. I also thank our children, Namrata and Nivaan for accepting my long absences and long hours at the office and always encouraging my efforts with smiles. Wives, spouses and children of all, I honor and salute you – you are always remembered gratefully.
It would be remiss of me not to recognize and express my gratitude for the wonderful support of our Board members, whose tireless efforts are behind our success. My sincere thanks also go out to our Bankers, to our aircraft manufacturers Boeing, Airbus and ATR, to our engine manufacturers GE, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, to MIAL, DIAL, to our suppliers and our caterers.
Today let us also not forget the bedrock of our success – our customers across India, our fellow-Indians living and working worldwide and our wonderful and increasing number of global customers. Our pride of achievement today must increase our sense of gratitude and humility – gratitude to our customers for two decades of their incredible support and humility to know and always remember that they have chosen to fly with us when they have always had a choice.
Finally before I conclude, I would like to say that the objectives of any great enterprise are to offer a great product and service and with these, to make money. No doubt the global financial climate is tough and challenging. But with your superb loyalty, support and dedication, we will together negotiate the tough future in uncompromising pursuit of profit through excellence and together forge a brilliant future. We are all partners in this task and I have absolutely no doubt that each and every one of you, will rise to the challenge of ensuring that our partnership will be enduring, successful and very profitable.
With these words, I once again congratulate, felicitate and thank each and every one of you and your dear families for your combined dedication to Jet Airways. Keep up this wonderful work ethic, enjoy this landmark day and let us together create many more such landmarks of success as we forge ahead.
© Jet Airways (India) Ltd.