As we commemorate 20 years of serving our guests and emerging along the way as India’s most preferred airline, do join us on our little flight down memory lane as we relive the past and look ahead towards a bright future.
May 5, 1993, Mumbai, Airport: The first aircraft with a distinct blue and ochre livery and an oblong, serrated sun denoting speed, slowly taxis for takeoff. On its wings it bears the hopes and aspirations of a fledgling company and its executives and staff who have been at the drawing board for a couple of years, putting together the structure of an enterprise they hope will weather the vagaries and vicissitudes of a sector which has just been tentatively opened to private participation by a reform-oriented government. While their vision, ambition and excitement was indefatigable, little did they realise that what they were witnessing was a defining moment. Defining not only for a nascent company with only four leased aircraft, but also for the entire civil aviation sector in India.
May 5, 1993 was also a defining moment for a young entrepreneur in the travel business. Naresh Goyal had established one of the country’s largest travel companies, but his goal and vision lay beyond. From being an employee, filling seats and cargo holds for other airlines, he wanted to graduate up the value chain to emerge as an entrepreneur – owning and operating an airline himself. His vast experience of the business, made him realize that there was only one way to succeed in a market that was already getting crowded with other players. That was to benchmark with the best, not only in the country but also internationally, both in terms of the quality of hardware—aircraft—as also service, both on the ground and in the air.
To flag off the first flight and the operations of the airline, the father of Indian civil aviation, Bharat Ratna JRD Tata was invited. The acerbic JRD turned to the Chairman and famously said, “Naresh, if you cannot make Jet Airways better than the best, then send the aircraft back…”
JRD spoke but the obvious. As we celebrate two decades of a pioneering enterprise that wrote a new chapter in Indian civil aviation and once again established its reputation within and beyond the country’s airspace, it is time to look back and examine what it took—the grit, determination and vision—to build a truly world class airline. The journey so far has not been free of turbulence and tribulation, affected as it has been by factors both unique to aviation as also the larger economy. What has made it possible is the trust and confidence of the millions of guests who have used and loved our services, and our partners who have imbibed the values of adhering to the strict quality standards of the airline and finally, every single member of the staff of the airline in all departments and at all levels who have been unstinting in their duties and their commitment to their responsibility of making every flight a pleasurable experience.
Thus, please join us as we celebrate with a sense of pride and humble achievement the first 20 years of Jet Airways.
© Jet Airways (India) Ltd.