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SpiceJet to fly to Bangkok from Pune, Bangalore

The airline with a fleet of 58 aircraft, comprising 30 Boeing 737-800 new generation jets and 28 Bombardier Q 400 aircraft plans to expand into more international routes with new planes.

KR Balasubramanyam | October 25, 2013 | Updated 19:13 IST
SpiceJet to fly to Bangkok from Pune, Bangalore
PHOTO: Reuters

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet will start flying to Bangkok from Pune and Bangalore from October 27 onwards. The two cities will have a frequency of four flights a week.

The airline will also fly daily from Madurai to Dubai starting November 22. Bangkok will be its tenth international destination. The airline with a fleet of 58 aircraft, comprising 30 Boeing 737-800 new generation jets and 28 Bombardier Q 400 aircraft plans to expand into more international routes with new planes.

The Chennai-based carrier, controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran, had placed an order for 30 Boeing aircrafts three years ago. Delivery began with the arrival of one aircraft last week. The rest is scheduled to take place over the next three years. Some of the aircraft are being acquired on a lease basis.

The new aircraft will be deployed mostly on international routes where yields are usually higher compared to domestic routes, according to a senior SpiceJet executive who spoke to Business Today. "The fleet expansion is on course," he said.

TOUGH TIMES

The airline, controlled by the Chennai-based Sun Group, reported a profit of Rs 50 crore in the April-June quarter on a turnover of Rs 1704 crore. The Maran family holds 52 per cent stake.

The airline is unlikely to post healthy numbers in the July-September quarter as this is usually a lean season. Its net worth has also eroded due to earlier losses.

The airline had a load factor between 73 and 75 per cent in the July-September period, according to the executive quoted above. However, SpiceJet Senior Vice President V.Raja, earlier told a media conference, that the yield for his airline has been improving. "But it is still not where we want it to be," he added.

The carrier has been operating under tough environment caused by increase in operational costs and rupee depreciation, according to him.

Senior Vice President, Kamal Hingorani said that the rupee fell by about 12 per cent between the first and the second quarters. This, he said, resulted in higher fuel costs. "Some states like Kerala levy as high as 31 per cent of sales tax on fuel, which has further pushed up our costs," Hingorani added.

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