SpiceJet gains Indian market share thanks to acquisition of Q400s; now operating 100 routes with almost 50 aircraft

SpiceJet’s latest new route is the airline’s sixth international service

SpiceJet’s latest new route is the airline’s sixth international service, from Madurai in Southern India to Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. In the domestic market, the airline’s Q400 operations are raising the airline’s market share from 13% to 18% and the airline has turned from losses to profit.

Last year, SpiceJet, the Indian low-cost carrier that launched in May 2005, carried almost nine million passengers, up over 30% on its 2010 figure. In the first six months of this year, the airline has transported over 5.3 million people (an increase again of almost 30%), and for the first time ever carried more than one million passengers in a single month (in May). Although the airline lost money in the financial year ended 31 March 2012, in the second quarter of 2012, the carrier reported a solid profit. In both periods, fuel accounted for 48% of the airline’s total costs.

In recent times, the airline has been expanding rapidly into Tier II and Tier III cities thanks to its growing fleet of 78-seat Q400 turboprops, of which the carrier now has 12 to complement its fleet of 35 737s (a mix of six 212-seat -900ERs and 29 189-seat -800s).

Chart: SpiceJet development  Monthly passengers 2007-2012

Source: DGA India

SpiceJet’s share of the Indian domestic market has risen from around 13% in the summer of 2011 (before the arrival of the Q400s) to around 18% now. In August, the airline’s share of 18.5% placed it third in the Indian market after IndiGo (27.6%) and Jet Airways (18.7%), and just ahead of Air India (18.2%).

Soon serving 100 routes non-stop

According to OAG data for early September, SpiceJet operates non-stop flights on 97 airport-pairs, spread across 36 airports in India and four foreign airports (Colombo, Dubai, Kabul and Kathmandu). Since anna.aero’s last analysis of SpiceJet, the airline has grown at significantly different rates across its main airports. While Delhi remains the airport’s busiest base, Chennai and Hyderabad both now offer more weekly SpiceJet departures than Mumbai.

Chart: SpiceJet's top 12 airports - Weekly departures [change between Sep 10 and Sep 12]

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 September 2012

In just two years, the airline’s network has grown from 42 to almost 100 routes. Only five of these routes are international (Delhi to Kabul, Kathmandu and Dubai; Chennai to Colombo; and Mumbai to Dubai), but last week saw the launch of a sixth international route from Madurai in Southern India to Colombo. This week also sees the launch of two additional routes from Bangalore to Coimbatore and Hubli, the latter a new destination for SpiceJet. Both of these routes will be operated by the airline’s Q400s.

Four routes are served with at least four daily flights; Delhi to Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai, and Chennai to Hyderabad. Across the airline’s entire network, the average weekly frequency is 10.5, with no route served with less than three weekly flights.


  1. Tim Alden says:

    Great news, the airline has continued to grow through difficult times and has succeeded where others have failed. We are proud to have Spicejet as a customer for our MRO and Fleet Management system.
    We wish them continued success.

  2. RK Singla says:

    Kudos to Spicejet! Need for the regional airlines was acutely felt in India and spice jet has filled the gap. More action is required as many of the airports in tier II and tier III cities have spare capacity. Appreciation is also due to Airports Authority of India and its staff to provide the able support to Spice Jet through its excellant airport facilities.

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