SpiceJet to buy 30 aircraft worth $900 mn

The low-cost carrier posted a net profit of Rs 10 crore for the quarter ended September 30, compared to a net loss of Rs 101.3 crore in the same period last year.

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet, which posted a profit of Rs 10 crore for the second quarter this financial year, on Tuesday said it plans to buy 30 aircraft worth $900 million from Canadian firm Bombardier and has placed an order for 15 of them.

"We have placed with the firm order for 15 aircraft worth $450 million and have an option to buy 15 more planes at about same amount. The Board on Tuesday approved the proposal," CEO Neil Mills told reporters here, while announcing the second quarter results.

He added with these aircraft, the no-frills carrier aims to reach tier-II and tier-III cities, like Shimla, Kullu-Manali and Jaipur.

"India currently has about 90 such airports (in tier-II & tier-II) cities and we plan to enter these areas, as there are no low-cost carriers (LCCs) here," Mills said.

The Q400 Nextgen turboprop aircraft from Bombardier, which can seat about 78 passengers, has low noise and vibration-free features. It uses up to 40 per cent less fuel than the regional jet aircraft, SpiceJet Chief Operating Officer Samyukth Sridharan said.

Mills said deliveries of 30 Boeing aircraft, ordered earlier, would begin by 2013, doubling the existing fleet of 22 aircraft.

Talking about the second quarter results, Mills said the airline's net profit was Rs 10 crore for the quarter ended September 30, compared to a net loss of Rs 101.3 crore in the same period of the 2009-10.

During this period, the airline reported about 16 per cent growth in passengers and 34 per cent in its revenues, which stood at Rs 602.99 crore compared with Rs 449.15 crore reported in July-September quarter last year.

Talking about the winter schedule, Sridharan said in addition to 153 daily flights, the airline plans to add 16 more flights during November itself.

However, the airline refused to comment on the investor response to its open offer, launched on October 18, by its new promoter SunTV Chief Kalanithi Maran and his private firm KAL Airways. The offer closes on November 06.