Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How Spicejet is significantly expanding capacity by reconfiguring its aircraft

As Jet Airways collapsed, Spicejet moved in with aggression to not just fill in the void but also to capture its lost market. The airline had significantly reduced its operations leading up to that fateful day in December 2014, when the airline had all but shut down until a spate of changes led to its revival. It took the airline two and half years to reach the size and scale of its former self.

The airline has been in a tearing hurry to launch additional flights. It had to meet the regulator’s mandate to use the slots at the earliest or lose them.

So much so that Spicejet and Vistara – the two airlines which took aircraft which earlier operated for Jet Airways — started operating the aircraft with Jet Airways livery, making bare minimum changes to the exterior.

In the process, Spicejet also veered off track from its business model and started selling business class seats in the erstwhile Jet Airways aircraft as SpiceBiz. This change came within days of inducting the dual-class planes, adding Spicejet decals and initially selling the business class seats as SpiceMAX – the airline’s existing product where certain seats with additional legroom are sold at higher prices and come with meals and other benefits like priority services.

This helped the airline tide over the capacity shortfall, which was caused due to the grounding of B737 MAX8 aircraft Between March and June this year, the airline added roughly 100 daily flights on domestic route, and 11 additional daily flights on international ones.

Today, SpiceJet operates 12,986 domestic departures in March, an average of 418 flights a day. In June, this number rose to 15,208 at an average of 507 a day.

The 17 percent increase in departures gave a 24 percent spike in capacity by ASK (Available Seat Kilometers) and a 19 percent increase in passengers flown on domestic routes.

Over the last month or so, SpiceJet is using the relatively lean period to pull capacity out from the market and re-paint the aircraft, along with changing the configuration to a single class of service. SpiceJet’s website lists down its fleet and gives a fair idea on what has changed.
15/10/19 CNBC TV18
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