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April 14, 2024
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Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet is exploring options to introduce a couple of Boeing 777-200ERs to kickstart its long-haul fleet plans. The airline has recently operated various flights across the world using air bubble rights granted by the Indian government for one-off operations by using the services of ACMI service provider Hi Fly. SpiceJet looks at adding 777s to its fleet.

SpiceJet’s current fleet includes 46 Boeing 737NG, 13 Boeing 737 MAX 8, and 32 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 aircraft. The airline has been operating with its 737NG and Q400 aircraft for many years, and in 2018 started the induction of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft into its fleet. Before the global grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft, SpiceJet had already inducted 13 737 MAX 8 aircraft into its fleet. The airline has a total of 155 MAX aircraft on order, apart from 50 options. 

As the only Indian customer of the MAX 8, SpiceJet had not prepared for the reintroduction of these aircraft into its fleet in spite of Indian regulator DGCA having already permitted the ungrounding of the Boeing 737 MAX in August 2021. It was due to the fact that both the parties had not come to an agreement on the settlement offered to SpiceJet for these grounded aircraft. 

SpiceJet had announced a settlement with Boeing in November 2021, post which the airline started to work on the de-storing and re-entry into service of its MAX aircraft. Out of the 13 grounded aircraft, six aircraft have been put into service after modifications mandated in EASA’s Airworthiness Directive, as prompted by the DGCA during the ungrounding of these aircraft. 

While settlement negotiations with OEMs are usually never disclosed publicly, it seems that SpiceJet is receiving two Boeing 777-200ER aircraft as a part of its settlement package from Boeing. These would not be brand new aircraft. The Times of India suggests that in a statement from chairman Ajay Singh of SpiceJet, they have indeed been exploring long-haul flying on their own. But with their past record, it could also be the case that the airline moves forward with using these aircraft for cargo flights under their SpiceExpress cargo unit. 

SpiceJet has also put out a hiring advertisement for the 777 cockpit crew recently, which has reiterated that they would be inducting 777-200ER aircraft into their fleet. 

It will be surely interesting to see SpiceJet’s entry into the long-haul flying space, especially because low-cost long-haul is not an area that many airlines have been successful, even with newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. 

ajay@livefromalounge.com | + posts

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe.

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