Spicejet eager to launch international routes

Spicejet was created as a ‘low-cost brand’ in 2005 by Royal Airways, which can trace its own origins back to a company called Modiluft which operated in the early 1990s. Starting with two 737-800s Spicejet has grown rapidly, especially in the last 12 months, to reach a fleet of 18 aircraft, 16 737-800s (189 seats) and two 737-900s (212 seats). Its latest quarterly reports suggest that the airline has carried around 3.5 million passengers in the last 12 months and though profitable during the second quarter of 2007, reported a loss in the third quarter.

Image: Spice jet plane
Spicejet has recently taken delivery of two Boeing 737-900s configured with 212 seats to bring its fleet to 18 aircraft. Carrying over 3.5 million passengers in 2007 the airline has around a 10% share of the Indian domestic market and currently flies to 18 destinations. Individual aircraft are named after particular spices such as Cinnamon, Dill, Thyme and Anise.
Image: New Hyderabad International Airport
New Hyderabad International Airport is scheduled to open on 16 March. It will take over from the existing Hyderabad Airport, handling all services including Spicejet’s new twice-daily Visakhapatnam (Vizag) service, which begins at the end of March.

Ranked fifth in India

According to the latest schedule data Spicejet has a 10% share of the Indian domestic market in terms of seat capacity and operates around 7% of all domestic flights.

Airline Weekly Departures Weekly Seats Departures Share Seats Share
Jet Airways 2,266 317,414 20.7% 21.8%
Indian Airlines 1,915 260,776 17.5% 17.9%
Air Deccan 1,850 205,164 16.9% 14.1%
Kingfisher 1,711 184,710 15.6% 12.7%
Spicejet 767 144,963 7.0% 10.0%
Indigo Air 693 124,740 6.3% 8.6%
Jet Lite 912 97,440 8.3% 6.7%
Go Air 247 44,460 2.3% 3.1%

During the second and third quarters of 2007 the airline carried 914,000 passengers and 858,000 respectively, an increase in both cases of 63% over passenger numbers in the previous year. The airline now serves a total of 18 destinations. Start dates for services to/from each airport are:

2005 – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Srinigar
2006 – Guwahati, Jaipur, Varanasi
2007 – Coimbatore, Kochi, Port Blair
2008 – Bagdogra

Image: Delhi’s runway expansion
Delhi has almost a 20% share of Spicejet’s weekly departures, with the airline operating 14 routes from the airport. Delhi’s current expansion will see a new runway open on 30 June 2008 and a new Terminal 3 on 31 March 2010.

In 2007 three new airports were added, while already this year Bagdogra has been the latest addition to the list. At the end of March Spicejet will start flying to its 19th airport at Visakhapatnam (Vizag) which will be served twice daily from Hyderabad. Analysis of the existing network shows that Delhi is the busiest airport for Spicejet.

Chart: Spicejet’s top 15 airports
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 10 March 2008

Map: Spicejet MapApart from Delhi, four other airports have at least 10% of Spicejet’s operations. Delhi also has the most routes (14), followed by Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai (all with eight routes). Most routes are operated daily or double-daily, though Delhi to Hyderabad is served three times each day and Mumbai to Delhi is served four times daily.

International ambitions

Apart from keeping up its domestic growth with the addition of several new aircraft in 2008 the airline would like to start international operations as soon as possible, despite not yet having reached the five year operating threshold currently demanded by the government.

The airline has identified Bangkok, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as its first targets for international flights though these would likely be served from so-called ‘Tier II’ cities such as Ahmedabad, Pune and Coimbatore.


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