SpiceJet to induct up to 20 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 12, 2019

Currently the airline has 12 Boeing MAX. File Photo   -  Bloomberg

Eyes China, Commonwealth of Independent States, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur skies

SpiceJet plans to induct up to 20 Boeing 737 MAX and between 5 to 110 Q 400 aircraft during fiscal 2019, Ajay Singh, the airline promoter said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of India Aviation Summit organised by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, he said the airline had “no immediate plans” to order any wide-body aircraft. The Boeing MAX will allow the airline to fly to countries that are up to eight hours away from India. SpiceJet plans to use the MAX to launch international flights rather than use larger wide-body aircraft.

“We look at China and countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States apart from operating to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur where we do not fly currently with the MAX,” Singh said. The airline has ordered 200 MAX aircraft and took delivery of the first aircraft last year. Currently the airline has 12 Boeing MAX.

Vistara yet to fly abroad

Meanwhile, Vistara continues to “engage with the government” seeking permission to start operations in the international skies. “We are still hopeful of getting approval soon. The impact of delay is minimal as we do not have that many aircraft,” Leslie Thng, Chief Executive Officer, said when asked if the airline is hopeful of starting international flights during the second half of this year.

The airline is yet to be given permission to fly international despite the government changing the rules for allowing domestic airlines to fly abroad. As part of the civil aviation policy, the government allows an airline with a fleet of more than 20 aircraft to fly abroad. This government policy change did away with the 5/20 rule which stipulated that an airline must have completed five years of domestic flying and have a fleet of 20 aircraft. Vistara has a fleet of over 20 aircraft but is yet to be given permission to operate in the international skies.

Published on February 12, 2019

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