In its ambitious attempts to connect Tier II and Tier III cities of India, the SpiceJet has received a brand new fleet of the latest Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft from Bombardier , beginning a new era for Indian aviation industry.
"Our focus is on Tier II and Tier III cities to ensure affordable journey to common people," its chairman Kalanithi Maran said. The cities which will be connected with the brand new aircraft are Aurangabad, Bhopal, Indore, Mangalore, Rajahmundry, Tirupati and Vijayawada.
SpiceJet, Bombardier in $446-mn deal
India's most preferred budget airline will launch its services from September 21 with the Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft, which can accommodate 78 passengers and is widely accepted as the best short-haul plane in the world.
SpiceJet had placed an order for 30 such aircraft and its chairman Maran received the first four aircraft at an impressive function held in Toronto on Friday.
The budget carrier has been strategically focusing on improving air connectivity in Tier-II and Tier-III towns, which is considered to be a large market in India and is yet to be touched by the benefits of the aviation revolution.
SpiceJet will also include routes within its existing destinations using the Q400 aircraft and will operate direct flights from Hyderabad to Goa, Madurai, Nagpur and Pune and Bangalore to Vizag.
"This will be the game changing aircraft for the Indian aviation industry," Chief Executive Officer Neil Mills said.
The air carrier will also be flying on three currently unconnected routes: Hyderabad-Mangalore, Hyderabad-Aurangabad and Vizag-Tirupati.
For the 30 aircraft, SpiceJet is likely to pay around $900 million.
SpiceJet plans to more than double its fleet in about three years. It currently flies 30 Boeing 737s--800/900.
The budget carrier has chosen Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport as the base for the regional operations.
The location of Hyderabad reduces flying time to any of the cities in the region making it the most suitable place to connect other cities especially in the South.
For Bombardier Aerospace, an $8.6-billion division of the $17.7-billion parent company, it will be the first foray in the Indian commercial aviation industry.
As several Indian budget carriers were planning to connect smaller centres, Bombardier is likely to take advantage of the growing market.
The Canadian company offers three models: the 70-80 seater Q400 turboprops, the 60-99 seater medium-haul CRJ jets and the mainline 100-149 seater C-series jets.
The Montreal headquartered company looks India as one of its most promising markets in the world. Company officials estimate airlines in India will need at least 600 aircraft over the next 20 years.
"India is a very big market and it is very important for Bombardier," Bombardier Senior Vice President (Sales, Marketing and Asset management) Chet Fuller said.