Travel agents cautious on selling SpiceJet tickets

Adith Charlie Mumbai | Updated on March 19, 2015 Published on March 19, 2015


Fear reduced fleet strength may lead to last-minute cancellations

Travel agents are wary of selling SpiceJet tickets and are waiting for more clarity to emerge on the carrier’s future course of action.

The travel trade is being cautious because the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the aviation regulator to de-register six planes operated by SpiceJet.

Travel agents fear that a reduced fleet strength could mean last minute cancellations, akin to what had happened late last year. According to its Website, SpiceJet currently operates a fleet of 34 aircraft.

Manoj Shah, President, Tour Operators & Travel Agents Association (TAG) of Gujarat, said: “In terms of perception, SpiceJet is still being associated with the events of last year and hence clients prefer other carriers if the fare differential is not high. Developments like this (court’s direction) will further make people jittery.”

In December, many customers of SpiceJet had to deal with eleventh-hour flight cancellations as the company struggled to maintain schedules after returning some of its Boeing 737 aircraft. The no-frills airline was compelled to reduce its fleet as it had a huge debt and was unable to pay rentals. Earlier this year, the carrier got a fresh lease of life as co-founder Ajay Singh made a comeback after buying out the entire 58.46 per cent stake owned by the erstwhile promoters.

Shah said that most of his clients have been satisfied with SpiceJet’s services after Singh came on board with ₹1,500 crore investment plan to revive the budget airline.

Last week, Singh had said the airline would settle all dues with the current lessors of Boeing 737 planes. On Thursday, the company was optimistic of finding a solution.

“We will study the order and will take necessary action, as advised. In any case, dialogue is on with the lessors and expecting to resolve the issue very soon,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said.

In fact, SpiceJet on Thursday launched a new scheme for international flights starting at all-inclusive fare of ₹2,699. The ‘Let’s go abroad sale’ is valid for tickets booked till March 22 for travel up to June 30.

Busy season

Reji Philip, Proprietor of Mumbai-based Cosmos Agencies, said: “We were seeing good demand for this new fare scheme for international flights, but the Delhi High Court order means we will have to encourage customers to look at other options. Even last time around, SpiceJet’s issues peaked in the busy season (October-December) and now cannot afford the same to happen during the upcoming holiday season.” At present, the carrier flies to international destinations such as Colombo, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Sharjah and Male, among others.

Published on March 19, 2015
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