Friday, March 12, 2021

SpiceJet is offering Rs 299 Covid tests to get people flying again

One airline in India has hit upon a new way to make a bit of extra money while encouraging people back on planes -- sell them Covid-19 tests.

SpiceJet Ltd., India’s second-largest carrier, is offering coronavirus screening to passengers for as little as Rs 299 ($4). That’s about one-third the current market rate. SpiceHealth, the unit selling the tests, has also set up mobile-testing facilities for the general public in Mumbai and New Delhi, where starting from Rs 499, people can come in or have a sample collected from their home.

Although aviation in India, with its big domestic market, is recovering faster than in places like Singapore and Hong Kong, which have no local business to speak of, the impact of the pandemic is still being felt. No-frills carrier SpiceJet posted a net loss of Rs 57 crore in the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of Rs 73.2 crore a year earlier.

So much red link has prompted airlines around the world to look for new revenue streams as they burn through cash. Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. last year rented out one of its Boeing Co. Dreamliners for sightseeing trips over Antarctica and sold items typically given away to premium passengers, including pajamas. Low-cost travel pioneer AirAsia Group Bhd. started an platform selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

12/03/21 Bloomberg/Business Standard

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