Mumbai: Airline major SpiceJet will induct around 22 aircraft from the grounded fleet of Jet Airways on a sub-lease basis and deploy the first such plane on the domestic sector within the next few days, informed sources said on Monday.
The industry sources told IANS that the budget passenger carrier will sub-lease about 22 aircraft from Jet Airways' lessors. The airline has also started to re-brand the sub-leased aircraft with SpiceJet insignia.
The first re-branded Boeing 737 from Jet's lessors will be deployed on the domestic sector within the next few days.
Prior to temporarily suspending all flight services, Jet had already folded up most of its operations due to grounding of around 90% of its fleet by lessors.
The airline owes 16 aircraft, while the rest were leased. Last year it had a fleet of around 120 aircraft.
Other airlines such as Air India have also evinced interest in sub-leasing Jet's grounded aircraft.
"The airline (SpiceJet) is adding huge capacity. They are not only taking leased aircraft but also inducting 22 sub-leased aircraft from Jet Airways' lessors," an industry insider told IANS.
"Pilots and cabin crew have also joined the airline. Aircraft are capital-intensive assets and grounding them for long not only causes financial losses but results in heavy maintenance expenditure."
In addition, the low-cost carrier has hired as many as 500 pilots, cabin crew, technical and other ground staff in recent weeks, with most of them coming from Jet.
Last week, SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh had said: "As we expand and grow, we are giving first preference to those who have recently lost their jobs due to the unfortunate closure of Jet Airways. We have already provided jobs to more than 100 pilots, more than 200 cabin crew and more than 200 technical and airport staff."
Earlier, SpiceJet had said that it would induct as many as 27 planes in a record time of less than two weeks.
At present, the budget passenger carrier has a fleet of 48 Boeing 737, 27 Bombardier Q-400s and two B737 freighters.
The low-cost airline is also the front-runner in gaining domestic and international slots vacated due to Jet's temporary grounding.
Currently, there are 280 slots in Mumbai and over 160 in Delhi that are left vacant.
These slots will be re-allocated by a committee comprising airport operators, Airports Authority of India and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), with preference being given to those airlines which bring in extra planes.
On April 17, around 20,000 employees and passengers were hit hard as Jet Airways announced temporary suspension of all flight services as it failed to secure interim funding from lenders to maintain even bare minimum operations.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at email@example.com)