SpiceJet set to handle 14 million passengers in 2016 but still only serves six international destinations; first of 42 737 MAX 8s coming in 2017

SpiceJet set to handle 14 million passengers in 2016

SpiceJet operates to Dubai from 10 Indian airports making it by far the airline’s leading international market. In fact, it ranks seventh among all of the 40+ airports that SpiceJet currently serves, of which only six are outside of India.

SpiceJet is India’s fourth biggest domestic airline and last year it carried 9.4 million domestic passengers at an average load factor of 90.2%. This gave it a market share of just under 12% for the whole of 2015. In addition SpiceJet carried almost 1.1 million passengers on international routes at an average load factor of 82.3%. In the first 10 months of 2016 over 10.3 million domestic passengers have already been carried (at a load factor of almost 93%) with a further 1.35 million passengers on international flights (at a load factor of almost 87%). This suggests that the airline is on track to carry close to 14 million passengers in 2016. The airline’s fleet currently comprises some 45 aircraft; 27 737s (of which 21 are -800s) and 18 Q400s. During S16 five -800s were added to the fleet.

Back in July 2014 SpiceJet’s share of the Indian domestic market reached 20% ,but a combination of factors led to the airline having to cut back capacity rapidly in order to survive, resulting in the airline’s share of the domestic market falling to just 10% within five months. However, under new management the airline has recovered, helped by falling fuel prices. It currently has around 13% of the domestic market, about the same as it had in 2009.

Chart: SpiceJet 2009-2016 Monthly domestic passengers and share of market

Source: DGCA.

Delhi is biggest base with most routes

SpiceJet’s share of seat capacity at India’s six biggest airports varies. In Mumbai (6%), Delhi (7%) and Bengaluru (8%) the LCC has less than 10% of seats, but at Kolkata (11%), Chennai (15%) and Hyderabad (15%) it is responsible for more than one in every 10 seats flown. However, Delhi and Mumbai are the airline’s biggest airports in terms of weekly departing seats. Delhi, with 22, also has more destinations served non-stop by SpiceJet than any other airport. Chennai with 19 routes beats Hyderabad with 17. The LCC’s seventh biggest airport is Dubai (shown in bright green) which is served from 10 Indian airports. This gives SpiceJet a 10% share of the India-Dubai market, behind Emirates (45%), IndiGo (12%), Jet Airways (12%) and Air India Express (11%).

SpiceJet set to handle 14 million passengers in 2016

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 1 August 2016.

In total SpiceJet was serving 40 destinations as of the beginning of August. Since then it has added Aizawl, Gorakhpur, Jodhpur and Silchar. Apart from the 10 Dubai routes, SpiceJet also offers a further seven international routes. These are to five airports; Bangkok (two routes), Colombo (two routes), Kabul, Malé and Muscat (one route each). In the past SpiceJet has also flown to Guangzhou (China), Kathmandu (Nepal), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Sharjah (UAE).

SpiceJet set to handle 14 million passengers in 2016

This scenic water arch salute took place at Aizawl on 4 October to celebrate the arrival of SpiceJet’s first flight from Kolkata. Aizawl is one of four new destinations added to SpiceJet’s domestic network in the last few months along with Gorakhpur, Jodhpur and Silchar.

SpiceJet’s weekly capacity has grown by over 30% between August 2015 and August 2016. However, the number of flights has increased just 22% indicating a higher proportion of the flights are now being operated by the larger 737s than the smaller Q400s. In addition while the number of routes operated has grown by only around 11% from 89 to 99, the average weekly frequency has increased from below 10 flights per week to over 11. In other words the airline’s capacity growth of 33% can be explained roughly equally by three factors; more routes, higher average frequency per route and larger aircraft size.

Looking further ahead the airline should start to receive the first of its 737 MAX 8s in 2017. SpiceJet ordered 42 of the type in March 2014 at a list price of $4.4 billion. At present anna.aero is not aware of any additional new routes that SpiceJet plans to operate in the near future.

SpiceJet set to handle 14 million passengers in 2016

Around 90% of SpiceJet’s passengers fly on domestic routes, but Dubai is the LCC’s seventh busiest airport, served from 10 Indian airports with daily flights. At present the LCC serves just six international destinations. Apart from Dubai SpiceJet also serves Bangkok (Thailand), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Kabul (Afghanistan), Malé (Maldives) and Muscat (Oman).

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