Home >Companies >News >SpiceJet to induct Airbus A340 aircraft for long-haul cargo operations

NEW DELHI : No-frills carrier SpiceJet Ltd will induct an Airbus A340 aircraft into its fleet later this week, which will be primarily used for cargo operations to Europe, Africa and CIS region.

SpiceJet, which already has a dedicated fleet of eight freighter aircraft consisting of five Boeing 737s and three Bombardier Q-400s, will be taking the aircraft on wet lease, a company official said, requesting anonymity.

A wet lease is a leasing arrangement whereby a lessor provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI) to another airline, which typically pay by hours operated.

“The induction of our first wide-body cargo aircraft will be a huge game changer in our remarkable journey that has seen SpiceJet emerge as the country’s largest cargo operator," said Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet Ltd.

The airline recently inducted an Airbus A330-900Neo aircraft on wet lease, which it will operate to Europe from September, making it the first Indian no-frill airline to operate on medium and long haul routes.

The Gurgaon-based carrier had earlier in August informed the stock exchanges that it has secured slots at London’s Heathrow Airport to start flights from 1 September, about a fortnight after it was designated as India’s scheduled carrier to the UK. Apart from this, the airline has also been designated as India's scheduled carrier to the US.

"The airline can now fly to the US and UK non-stop on its Airbus A330-900 aircraft. The aircraft will initially be used for charter flights to Europe, US and other regions and later for scheduled long-haul flights," said another SpiceJet official, under the condition of anonymity adding that the airline's Airbus A340 cargo operations will compliment its Airbus A330 long-haul operations.

The airline recently repatriated 264 Italians from New Delhi to Rome on its Airbus A330 aircraft which will also bring back 186 Indian nationals to Delhi stranded in Italy on its return journey on 18 August.

Indian airlines are staring at a revenue loss of 1.3 trillion between fiscal 2020 and 2022 because of the covid-19 pandemic, which has severely hit demand, rating agency Crisil said in a report earlier in July.

While the domestic operations are seeing a muted demand due to various travel restrictions imposed by states, and ongoing monsoon season, airlines have been increasingly depending on their cargo and charter operations, which include repatriation flights, for revenue.

SpiceJet reported its highest ever quarterly loss of 807.07 crore in the March quarter, compared to a net profit of 56.29 crore in the year-ago period.

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