SpiceJet has up to 205 of Boeing 737 MAXs on order, having ordered in 2016 a 100 new aircraft, converted 42 from an existing order and added 13 discretely. They also have purchase rights on another 50 planes. SpiceJet was in the group of launch customers for the Boeing 737 MAX 10, where they have 40 of those on order as well. The airline received its first aircraft in 2018, with 189 seats on board, and since then, quickly inducted 13 of these aircraft in its fleet.
However, in 2019, on the back of the global grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft, Boeing stopped delivering the aircraft. However, so confident was Boeing about the 737 MAX, that it continued to produce these aircraft, before stopping the production in 2020 as they ran out of space to store these aircraft.
In the meantime, with the shutdown of Jet Airways, however, excess capacity came around in India, and SpiceJet absorbed a whole lot of second-hand, or perhaps even third-hand airframes of the 737 NG variety which might have been coming cheap from the lessors. The airline, however, fell on financially tough times itself with Covid-19 and hence tried to not work with DGCA to unground the 737 MAX in India.
The 737 MAX was ungrounded by the FAA in late 2020, however, in India, the DGCA only ungrounded the aircraft in late 2021 after a substantial push by Boeing, which might have been the pre-requisite for the aircraft deal with Akasa to be signed. Even then, SpiceJet only started to work with their (already inducted) 737 MAX aircraft after the Dubai Airshow, and finally, 11 out of their 13 aircraft are in regular service, with VT-MXF/VT-MXJ being the only ones that are not in service, yet.
At the press conference organised by SpiceJet to announce their MAX entering service again, SpiceJet had told media that they plan to induct 50 aircraft in 2022-23 as a part of their plans to refresh their fleet, and they would let go 737 NG aircraft in the process.
In the meantime, Boeing has had a pileup of 737 MAX aircraft at their sites across the US, given (usually) any airframe can be cancelled by the designated owner if the aircraft does not turn up within 12 months of the originally committed date. In the case of SpiceJet, it seems under this, or some other clause of their settlement with Boeing, SpiceJet has refused to accept about 11 of their 737 MAX already assembled and tested by Boeing. These aircraft were all manufactured in 2019, while the grounding of the MAX was ongoing.
Southwest to take over 11 SpiceJet NTU 737 MAX aircraft
At least 11 737 MAX which were not taken up (NTU) by SpiceJet, are now going to be taken up by Southwest. Along with some assistance from Twitter friends, we managed to dig up the list of the aircraft which have been in the process of (re)registration in the US FAA registry, and will be painted and handed over to Southwest in due course of time.
Apparently, some of these were SpiceJet’s own book, and some were already signed on with lessors such as CDB Aviation and Avolon. This could be a part of the settlement that was made in 2021 by SpiceJet with both these lessors. We reached out to the lessors for a comment. While CDB Aviation did not respond, Avolon via their Comms Agency told us, that Avolon does not comment on specific customer relationships.
And as I was writing up this article, the first images have also started surfacing of an aircraft which was earlier painted in SpiceJet livery, but now painted for Southwest. The image was posted by BFI_watch_ca350, a planespotting account on Twitter. The aircraft has just returned from Victorville into Boeing Field, after being repainted on March 8, 2022.
As you would note, the image still has a rudder painted in SpiceJet colours. (Re)painting the rudder requires precision, and will be done separately as compared to the rest of the aircraft.
There should also be some modifications made inside since the SpiceJet configuration for these aircraft was 189 seats in Economy, but Southwest operates theirs with 175 seats.
The Boeing Order and Delivery sheet does not show the changes made to the order book if any.
11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 which have been not taken up by SpiceJet are now headed for Southwest. The first one is almost ready to be handed over to Southwest, and the rest of these will be (re)painted and modified and delivered shortly after. In the meantime, SpiceJet says it will take on more 737 MAX in 2022, but this move seems to run counter to the public statements.
(H/T to @MZulqarnainBut1)
Liked our articles and our efforts? Please pay an amount you are comfortable with; an amount you believe is the fair price for the content you have consumed. Please enter an amount in the box below and click on the button to pay; you can use Netbanking, Debit/Credit Cards, UPI, QR codes, or any Wallet to pay. Every contribution helps cover the cost of the content generated for your benefit.
(Important: to receive confirmation and details of your transaction, please enter a valid email address in the pop-up form that will appear after you click the ‘Pay Now’ button. For international transactions, use Paypal to process the transaction.)
We are not putting our articles behind any paywall where you are asked to pay before you read an article. We are asking you to pay after you have read the article if you are satisfied with the quality and our efforts.