Airlines, Spice Jet

SpiceJet Airline

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The origins of SpiceJet track back to February 1993 when ModiLuft was launched by Indian industrialist S K Modi, in technical partnership with the German flag carrier Lufthansa. The airline ceased operations in 1996.

In 2004, Ajay Singh raised funds and restarted operations as SpiceJet following the low-cost model.] SpiceJet leased 3 Boeing 737-800 aircraft. On 7 March 2005, the Airports Authority of India approved three overnight parking slots to SpiceJet, with two in Delhi and one in Mumbai. SpiceJet opened bookings on 18 May 2005. The first flight was flagged off by then Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Praful Patel. The first Boeing 737-800 aircraft left Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi for Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai on 24 May 2005. By 2008, it was India’s second-largest low-cost carrier in terms of market share.

Indian media baron Kalanidhi Maran acquired 37.7% stake in Spicejet in June 2010. In 2012, SpiceJet suffered from a loss of over ₹390 million (US$5.9 million) owing to increase in global crude prices. On 9 January 2012, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, reported that several airlines in India, including SpiceJet, have not maintained crucial data for the flight operations quality assurance or the FOQA. The Bombay stock exchange announced that ever since June 2011, Spicejet had been suffering losses. In 2012, Despite the losses, Kalanithi Maran increased his stake in Spicejet by investing ₹1 billion (US$15 million) in the airline. The airline returned to making profits at the end of the year. In 2013, SpiceJet launched its first interline pact with Tigerair on 16 December 2013.

In July 2014, SpiceJet announced up to 50 per cent discounts due to competition. In August 2014, SpiceJet became the second largest carrier in India’s domestic market, in terms of passengers carried in the month of July, beating leading full service carrier Jet Airways for the first time in its operational history. In December 2014, SpiceJet cancelled many domestic flights across the country. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued warning over non payment of salaries and dues, while the airport operators moved to put the carrier on cash-and-carry mode, which means the airline can use the facilities of an airport only upon immediate payment. On December 17, all flights were grounded after oil companies refused to refuel its planes. Flights resumed the next day. In January 2015, the Sun group sold its entire shareholding to the airline’s founder Ajay Singh and transferred control.

SpiceJet currently operates over 270 flights daily to 34 Indian and 7 international destinations. The airline flies Boeing 737-800 and −900ERs and Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s. After completing 5 years of flying, SpiceJet was allowed to commence international flights by the Airports Authority of India on 7 September 2010. SpiceJet launched flights from Delhi to Kathmandu and Chennai to Colombo. The first international flight took off on 7 October 2010 from the Delhi airport. In April 2011, SpiceJet announced that they chose Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport as the primary base for its new fleet of Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft. On 12 January 2012, SpiceJet’s fleet went up to 40 as Boeing delivered a brand new 737-800 aircraft.

SpiceJet placed its first firm order for 20 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s in March 2005, with deliveries scheduled up to 2010. Again in November 2010, SpiceJet order for another 30 Boeing 737-800s with winglets in the presence of the American president, Barack Obama. Neil Mills, the chief executive officer of SpiceJet said “We are extremely satisfied with the Next-Generation 737—an airplane that is reliable, allows for greater efficiency in maintenance and supports the business plan for low-cost carriers”. On 9 December 2010, Bombardier Aerospace announced that SpiceJet placed a firm order for 15 Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners and has also placed an option to buy another 15 of those. SpiceJet used its fleet of Q400s for short-haul operations. Each aircraft in the SpiceJet fleet is named after a spice SpiceJet sold five of its old Boeing 737-800 to other operators on receiving new ones. One of the five was SpiceJet’s own which is now in the possession of Somon Air. In February 2012, SpiceJet announced that it would take the delivery of ten more aircraft during 2012, of which seven would be the Bombardier Q400. In April 2015, the airline introduced 3 wet leased Boeing 737-800 from Prague-based Travel Service (airline) on a short term agreement.

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