First published in AMS business magazine. Author: Matt Farquharson
‘India’s trade relations with the Netherlands go back over 400 years,’ says Samir Chada, general manager of Jet Airways Benelux. ‘And the recent meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and the Netherlands has given a new impetus to this relationship.’
While that may be true, there are more direct reasons, other than cordial relations between PMs Narendra Modi and Mark Rutte, for Jet Airways, India’s second-largest airline, choosing Amsterdam as its European hub. India exports around €6.5 billion worth of goods and services to the Netherlands each year, about the same as it exports to Germany and a little less than it does to the UK. And the Indian community in the Netherlands is thought to number more than 215,000, making it the third-largest in Europe after the UK and France.
‘Amsterdam is one of the great cities of the world and has emerged as a top business centre and tourism destination in Europe,’ says Chada. ‘There is a large demand for travel between India and Amsterdam, both for business and tourism. Mumbai and Delhi, India’s two most important cities, are Jet Airways hubs, and they offer easy connectivity for Jet Airways customers across its vast domestic network.’ That network covers more than 70 destinations, around 50 of which are within India. Its fleet of more than 100 includes new A330-300s for Amsterdam-India flights.
So, why Amsterdam as a hub, rather than any other European airport?
‘Market size, connectivity opportunities, alliances and partnerships, and competitive scenarios are all factors that influence an airline’s network decisions,’ says Chada. ‘The large India-Amsterdam market, connectivity opportunities at Schiphol Airport, as well as our planned cooperation with KLM and Delta have been key influences.
‘Amsterdam offers several advantages as a gateway. It is a major European and transatlantic hub airport, and in partnership with KLM and Delta we can now offer our customers one-stop access across Europe and North America, including to 30 European destinations through codeshares, which is significantly higher than we were able to offer before. Furthermore, we will also be able to offer codeshare connectivity to 11 points across the US and Canada, with inaugural flights from India and Toronto to Amsterdam having taken place in March of this year.’