Low-cost carrier SpiceJet on Monday expanded its domestic network by adding Madurai as its 20th destination. It also announced a fleet expansion programme for the coming years, to meet the growing domestic demand.
The first flight, with over 150 passengers from Chennai, landed here this morning, making the 'cultural capital' a part of one of the major low-cost airliners in India.
SpiceJet will now operate services between Madurai and Chennai twice a day, connecting onwards to Delhi and Mumbai.
Company Director and CEO Kishore Gupta told reporters here that the airliner had placed orders for 30 new aircraft with Boeing, starting delivery in 2014, as part of an "aggressive growth plan".
"We hope Madurai's good fortune will give us the launch that we want," he said.
Already having presence in three cities -- Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai -- in the state, SpiceJet was mulling adding another one but is yet to finalise on it, Gupta said.
International operations (Delhi-Kathmandu and Chennai-Colombo) are scheduled to start from October 7 and 9, respectively. These sectors would be relatively easier in achieving break-even and expansions would be in place after consolidating the company's presence in this route, he said.
Chief Commercial Officer Samyukth Sridharan said seven more flights will be added to its operations over the next 14 months. SpiceJet currently operates 22 flights.
He said the airliner intended to increase its passenger strength from 65 lakh last year to 85 lakh this year.
To a question on Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds, Gupta said the company hoped it would be completed by year-end. Subsequent to the sale, south-Indian business magnate Kalanidhi Maran's stake in the company will go up to 37 per cent.