Mumbai: No-frills carrier SpiceJet, which is set to induct its hundredth aircraft in the coming days, will add more than 50 to its fleet during the current calendar year, chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said on Friday.
"As we sprint on our growth path, SpiceJet is eyeing an aggressive expansion plan across both its domestic and international network," Singh said in a letter to employees. "And the rigorous ground work for it (flying medium to long-haul international flights) have already begun," he added.
Mint has reviewed a copy of the letter.
SpiceJet, currently the country's third-largest domestic carrier behind IndiGo and Air India, carried 14.41 lakh passengers during April, registering a 13.1% market share, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The airline currently has over 92 aircraft in its fleet consisting mostly of Boeing 737s.
The airline currently flies to short-haul and medium-haul international destinations, including Bangkok, Colombo, Dhaka, Muscat, Kabul, Male, Hong Kong, Dubai and Jeddah.
SpiceJet had in January 2017 placed a huge order of 205 Boeing aircraft valued at $22 billion at list prices. This was on top of a previous order for 155 Boeing planes as the airline looked to increase its capacity to fulfill its expansion plans.
"SpiceJet passengers will soon be able to travel to popular destinations across America, Europe, Africa and Middle East, seamlessly on a single ticket," Singh said, indicating that the airline could ink more code-share deals in the coming days.
SpiceJet had in April inked an initial pact with Gulf-based Emirates for code-share partnership, a move that will give wider connectivity to its passengers on the latter's network across the world.
Code-sharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence.
SpiceJet has been one of the fastest growing airlines (in terms of passengers travelled) in the country. However, it faced several challenges during the past few months that threatened to derail its growth. This included the ban on operation of Boeing Co's 737 MAX aircraft tin the Indian airspace, in March, following the fatal crash of a plane of the same type in Ethiopia and a similar fatal accident involving a Lion Air aircraft of the same type during October last year.
"The last year was an equally eventful one marked with lots of remarkable achievements. We inducted 13 of Boeing's newest and most-advanced 737 Max 8 aircraft in addition to eight of the new 9-seater Q400's (Bombardier Q400) and two freight aircraft, we flew to nine new destinations, including two international, opened 34 flights under UDAN (regional connectivity scheme)," Singh said, adding, his aim was to build SpiceJet into a reputed international carrier operating medium to long-haul flights.