Mumbai/New Delhi: Low-fare carrier SpiceJet Ltd on Tuesday said it will add five 90-seater Bombardier Q400 planes in the next 90 days, even as the aviation regulator urged airlines to keep airfares from spiralling.
“Three of these planes will join SpiceJet’s fleet in the next ten days while the remaining two will be inducted by June," the airline said in a statement. SpiceJet currently has 76 planes.
“The airline had last week announced the induction of 16 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft on dry lease," it said, adding, “The 90-seater variant is part of SpiceJet’s second purchase order for up to 50 Q400 turboprops placed in September 2017." SpiceJet’s current fleet consists of 48 Boeing 737 planes, 27 Bombardier Q400s, and one Boeing 737 freighter.
SpiceJet’s capacity addition comes after lessors grounded a large portion of Jet Airways’ 119 aircraft fleet due to non-payment of dues.
“As part of our efforts to augment capacity and minimize passenger inconvenience, SpiceJet will induct five more Q400s in addition to the 16 B737s we announced last week," SpiceJet’s chairman and managing director Ajay Singh in a statement.
“The sudden reduction of aviation capacity should in no way hamper air connectivity to the smaller towns and cities of India and as the country’s largest regional operator, SpiceJet will make all possible efforts in this direction," Singh added.
SpiceJet had in January 2017 ordered 205 Boeing aircraft valued at $22 billion at list prices. This was on top of a previous order for 155 Boeing planes. Meanwhile, with the grounding of Jet Airways planes pushing up airfares, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) urged airlines to prevent a surge in fares after an internal review of price trends.
“Airlines were advised to continue to monitor at their level and provide information to DGCA to keep fares low as far as possible," an official privy to the development said after the meeting between the regulator and the executives.
Airlines representatives told the regulator that they have shifted tickets from higher priced buckets to lower fare ones. The regulator wants to ensure that the liquidity crunch that curtailed Jet Airways operations does not turn into a crisis in the industry, affecting passengers. “DGCA will continue to monitor fare movement on a daily basis and engage with airline for appropriate action," said the official.