SpiceJet, one of India’s top airlines, said it will add 16 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft to its fleet over the next ten days, even as rival Jet Airways has reportedly ground about 70 aircraft due to financial troubles.
Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet indicated his company would add more.
“This is the first lot of Boeing 737s that we are inducting in our fleet,” he said. “The sudden reduction of aviation capacity has created a challenging environment in the sector.”
The move had already been informally known in the market since yesterday morning, leading to a jump in SpiceJet’s share price.
It is not know if SpiceJet is adding the same aircraft that Jet Airways has grounded. However, it is likely.
Most of the aircraft operating in India are owned by foreign corporations, such as those in the US. These are then taken on either a dry lease, or a wet lease. A wet lease is where the company that owns the aircraft also provides the fuel.
SpiceJet said it would take these aircraft on dry lease.
Aircraft cannot be reassigned as they are, as these come with the logo and other emblems of the operating airline.
That said, it is likely that SpiceJet got a good deal on these, and snapped them up when it saw an opportunity.
SpiceJet, which has proven to a nimble operator, said it has applied to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to import the aircraft.
“The new inductions will not just bring down flight cancellations to nil but also help in SpiceJet’s aggressive international and domestic expansion plans,” it added.
SpiceJet currently has a fleet of 50 Boeing 737, 27 Bombardier Q-400s and one B737 freighter.
It operates 516 average daily flights to 60 destinations, including 51 domestic and 9 international ones.