Friday, July 24, 2020

Why SpiceJet may feel time is right for US and UK services

Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet has secured “designated carrier” status for scheduled services to both the USA and the UK – the first firm step towards beginning flights to both countries.

Such long-haul markets have proven hostile to the low-cost model in the past, and SpiceJet has provided no details about when – or with what aircraft – it would seek to serve them.

But while announcing that the designated carrier status had been secured for US flights on 23 July, the airline’s managing director Ajay Singh stated: “It gives me immense pleasure to share that SpiceJet has been designated as an Indian scheduled carrier to operate between India and the US. This designation would help us plan for our international expansion in a much better and calibrated manner.
“I have always maintained that there is an opportunity in every adversity and the present crisis situation has seen SpiceJet rise to the occasion and play a pivotal role,” he adds, referring to the airline’s cargo operations and repatriation flights during the coronavirus crisis.

Late on 24 July, the carrier announced that it had received similar clearance to operate flights to the UK.

To reach the point of serving the USA and the UK, however, a number of hurdles are ahead, beyond the need to source the right aircraft.

Among those would be receiving foreign carrier approvals from the US and UK regulatory bodies, who would consider SpiceJet’s financial and safety records.

The carrier would also need to secure slots at the airports that it intends to serve.

True long-haul flights would therefore be a significant strategic change for the budget operator, whose domestic-focused network also includes some international flights within Asia and to the Middle East, served by single-aisle types.
24/07/20 Lewis Harper/Flight Global
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