New Delhi: It may be troubled times for the airlines business, but low-cost carrier SpiceJet sees an opportunity in this and is keeping its antenna up to see if some worthwhile carrier comes its way at ‘right price.’
Predicting a shake out in the industry, Spicejet, which recorded a passenger growth of 12% in the first quarter of 2009 when others were struggling to beat the downtrend, CEO Sanjay Aggarwal said an acquisition could be possible in about 10 months.
“We are keeping our eyes and ears open,” Aggarwal told PTI when asked if his airline is on a look out for suitable acquisition opportunity.
Asked about the finances and war chest for such an acquisition, Aggarwal said Spicejet was a debt free company and not short on funds.
On the kind of carrier Spicejet would want, he said: “It will depend on the synergy and the price the business will bring.”
Aggarwal, however, added that such inorganic growth could only take place after 9-10 months, possibly by the time when the carrier completes its fifth anniversary in May next year.
Until such time, the budget carrier would concentrate on transforming itself to “an airline of choice” for the passengers, he added.
When asked who he would like SpiceJet to be compared with and the time frame for the transformation, Aggarwal said: “I think Southwest Airlines (America) is the best in the business. I would like SpiceJet to be in that league... Hopefully by our fifth anniversary that is May 2010”.
Aggarwal said he would transform the airline from a casual business entity to the best professionally run company within a year.
“I have no benchmark in India... when I joined I found the attitude was Chalta Hai (Casual). This is dangerous as there was no recognition for good work and no punishment for lapses... I will change it,” he said.
Aggarwal added SpiceJet would now try to connect more cities or routes for which various options are being explored.
SpiceJet currently connects 18 cities with 125 flights a day. From a market share of mere 7.9% in September last year, the carrier has garnered 11.7% share last month.