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India’s SpiceJet Expands Fleet Of Boeing 737s

A SpiceJet 737 (Photo: Jane Mejdahl [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)])

India’s SpiceJet has announced that the service will be bolstered by adding 10 Boeing 737 aircraft between September and October. The enhancement is paving the way for recovery and meeting the travel demand during the winter.

The new aircraft will include five Boeing 737 MAXs. However, the airline hasn’t revealed the price tag of the new aircraft.

“We will be inducting 10 B737 aircraft between September – October. The induction of these planes, which coincides with the peak travel season in India, will help us launch new routes and strength out presence on existing one.” Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, said.

According to SpiceJet, the low-cost carrier operates a fleet of Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q-400s.

The deal came a day after the announcement of partnering FTAI Aviation. FTAI will lease up to 20 CFM56 engines to the carrier, part of the engines would use to reactivate some of its grounded fleet in the next two to three months. It is expected the agreement will ensure the airline’s performance, and “without worrying about engines or their maintenance.”

Earlier, as a result of the surging travel demand in the country, the aircraft revival scheme is under the auspices of the government’s Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) and its cash accruals. Indian government rolled out ECLGS in response to Covid-19 in 2020, setting up financial support to the company which has suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic. SpiceJet has secured a fund of $50 million from the government.

“The airline is meticulously working towards returning the grounded fleet to the air as soon as possible,” Singh added.

The airline reported a profit for the quarter ending in December 2022, with a domestic load factor of 91% and operating revenue increased by 19%. SpiceJet had touted its highest passenger load factor amongst all airlines in the country.

However, the latest financial report couldn’t stop the potential bankruptcy. Wilmington, the aircraft lessor, has approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to begin insolvency proceeding against SpiceJet. Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has deregistered three SpiceJet’s aircraft. Wilmington is the company that owns one of the aircraft. But the airline said two of three aircraft were non-operational and there’s no impact on flight operations.

In the meantime, the struggling airline is facing another setback.  Aircastle, an Irish aircraft lessor, also seeks the initiation of insolvency in the wake of the airline having failed to pay its outstanding due.

Earlier, SpiceJet refused to follow in Go First’s footsteps to declare bankruptcy, filing a request with the NCLT to explore options for safeguarding the airline’s assets.

“There is absolutely no question of filing for insolvency. Any rumor regarding the same is completely baseless,” Singh said.

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