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Fall of a Titan: understanding the Jet Airways crisis

Shashank Kathpal (Institute of Business Management, GLA University, Mathura, India)
Asif Akhtar (Department of Business Administration, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India)

Publication date: 18 August 2021

Issue publication date: 12 October 2021


Theoretical basis

The competitive environment of the Indian aviation industry is studied using Porter's five forces model. The SWOT analysis is used to examine the competitive position of Jet Airways. The role of Merger & Acquisition in the current Jet Airways crisis is also examined. Relevant texts studied are as follows: Kazmi, A. and Kazmi A. (1992). Strategic Management. McGraw-Hill Education; and Porter, M. (2008). The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Harvard business review. 86. 78–93, 137.

Research methodology

This data for this case was extracted from secondary sources. These sources comprise newspaper articles, reports from the industry, reports of the company and the company's website. For gaining clarity over concepts, strategic management book by Azhar Kazmi and Adela Kazmi was referred. This case also uses websites such as to analyze financial health of the company. In the end, this case also uses some existing reports from the sources like World Bank and plane spotters to analyze the status of Jet Airways and also Indian aviation industry. This case has been tested in the classroom with MBA students in a class of Business Policy and Strategic management.

Case overview/synopsis

The Jet Airways, which once had the largest market share in the Indian aviation industry, has reached bankruptcy. Mr. Naresh Goyal, known for his aggressive expansion strategies, has already filed for bankruptcy. This case presents how buying aircrafts' obsession with poor choices on Mergers/Acquisitions could result in bankruptcy. The same could be substantiated from the fact that Goyal had many (197) of his fleet's latest aircraft. Goyal was also criticized for buying Sahara Airlines, which was performing poorly in the market. Spending a large portion of the budget in capital expenditure in an industry where operational cost is very high, only the cost of turbine fuel amounts to 50% of total operational expense. The high expenditure on capital budget and increasing operational cost weaken the financial position of Jet Airways. Despite earning decent revenue and having the highest market share in 2010, Jet Airways made losses in three consecutive years, i.e. from 2009 to 2011. After 2011, when the Indian aviation industry witnessed a high level of competition and growth in low-cost carriers (LCC), Jet Airways' survival was up for a toss. Despite the desperate measures of cost-cutting and attracting potential investors, Jet Airways reached the verge of bankruptcy. The current case emphasized the need to balance safe and riskier options, even for the market leaders like Jet Airways could fail due to poor strategic choices. This case presents some harsh realities on funds allocation. In 2010, where Jet Airways secure the highest market share and decent total revenue, it realized net losses. The case study also explains the need to adapt to the dynamics of the industry. After 2011, when LCC started dominating the Indian aviation industry, Jet Airways did not change its operation strategy and facing severe consequences. The case was about the poor strategic decisions taken by the founder of Jet Airways, Mr. Naresh Goyal, which adversely affected the health of the airline. The case also explores the possible strategic choices that Goyal could have taken to ensure Jet Airways' survival. Through this case, an attempt had been made to highlight the importance of various concepts that we need to understand while making a strategic decision for any organization. In the end, this case emphasized the role of strategy in managing an organization successfully.

Complexity academic level

The case study's target group should be Undergraduate and Postgraduate students of the Management discipline who study Strategic Management as a specialization or as the subject. This case can also be used in the Management Development Program for senior executives taking any vocational course or workshop on Business Strategy. The case focuses on one of the fastest emerging markets, i.e. India, and could be proven valuable for many multinationals companies. The case presents the changing competitive dynamics of the Indian aviation industry. The central theme on which the case revolves is the importance of sound strategic choices in a dynamic market or industry. After analyzing the case, the students would understand the complex nature of strategic decision-making and any poor strategic decisions ripple effect. This case could teach essential strategic management concepts like "SWOT analysis" and "PESTEL analysis." This case should be used to teach strategic management concepts only and not act as a judgment tool for any organization.



Disclaimer. This case is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from published sources.


Kathpal, S. and Akhtar, A. (2021), "Fall of a Titan: understanding the Jet Airways crisis", , Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 569-587.



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