SpiceJet to operate daily flight to Heathrow from Sept 1

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 04, 2020 Published on August 04, 2020

Service under ‘travel bubble’ deal to be restricted to specified passenger categories

SpiceJet will operate a daily service from India to London Heathrow from September 1.

Sources indicated that while slots at Heathrow have been given to SpiceJet from September 1, the date of flight starting will be announced soon. A slot is a landing and take-off time from a particular airport. SpiceJet has been given 15.30 UK as the slot for arrival while the departure slot is 17.30 (UK time).

The airline plans to wet-lease either a Boeing 787 or an Airbus A-330 to operate this flight. Sources indicated that the airline is looking to operate from multiple Indian cities with a daily frequency.

A wet lease involves getting an aircraft along with the cockpit and cabin crew from the airline or company from which the aircraft is being leased. The airline recently wet-leased an Airbus A-330 New Engine Option from a Portugal-based company to operate a flight between Amsterdam and Bengaluru and onwards to Hyderabad.

The current fleet with SpiceJet of Boeing 737 and Bombardier does not have the capacity to fly non-stop to London.

In a statement to the BSE, the airline said the service to London is presently under the bubble arrangement between India and the UK and effective up to the end of the summer schedule — till October 23, 2020. It shall be extended basis the resumption of regular operations. The company is also in advanced discussion to secure slots for the winter schedule for regular operations,, it added.

The operation under a bubble means that only specific category of passengers — such as NRIs and those holding long-term UK visas — will be able to board the flight.

On July 24 the airline informed the BSE that it was among the domestic carriers designated to fly between India and the UK. It is only after an airline is designated by a government that it can apply for permission to fly on foreign routes.

Limited open sky policy

India and the UK have signed a limited open sky policy which allow airlines from both sides to fly as many flights as they like between any points in the countries apart from Delhi and Mumbai.

At the moment, Air India is the only Indian carrier to operate multiple flights a week between India and the UK. From the UK side, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic used to operate regular flights to various destinations in India. Before the lockdown began, British Airways, for instance, was operating twice a day between Delhi and London.

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Published on August 04, 2020
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