SpiceJet turns five; carrying six million passengers per year; adding international routes to Colombo and Kathmandu
For many airlines a fifth birthday is a significant milestone well worth celebrating, but in India it has special significance as it marks the moment when an airline can start operating international services. SpiceJet passed this milestone back in May but has waited until recently to reveal its first international routes; Delhi to Kathmandu, and Chennai to Colombo, both starting early next month. During the last 12 months the airline has carried just over six million passengers, while in the first half of 2010 passenger numbers have risen year-on-year by 25% to 3.2 million, with an average load factor of 83%.
In May the airline carried over 600,000 passengers in a month for the first time, and achieved a load factor of 90.4%. The fleet currently comprises 22 737s (17 -800s configured with 189 seats, and five -900s each with 212 seats) and the airline confirmed to anna.aero that it hopes to have a fleet of 27 aircraft by the end of this year, rising to 34 by the end of 2011.
Delhi and Mumbai are two biggest bases
The airline’s two busiest bases are at the country’s two busiest airports in Delhi and Mumbai. In all SpiceJet currently operates just over 1,000 weekly departures based on 147 daily flights from 20 Indian airports, with Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Kathmandu (Nepal) to be added next month.
The airline currently operates a total of 42 domestic routes. New routes to have started this year are from both Kolkata and Guwahati to Agartala, and between Chennai and Madurai, which started this week.
The routes served with the highest frequency are Delhi – Mumbai (six daily flights) and Delhi – Hyderabad (four daily flights). On average each of the domestic routes is served with just under 12 weekly flights.
Colombo and Kathmandu routes will be highly competitive
The airline will face fierce competition on both of its first two international routes. On the Delhi – Kathmandu route it will compete with Alpine Air, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, JetLite, Kingfisher and Nepal Airlines, while on the Chennai – Colombo link passengers will have the option of travelling with Air India Express, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, JetLite, Kingfisher and SriLankan Airlines.