Last year, Indian LCCs took significant strides into their plan for world domination. IndiGo signed its first codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. This opened up a whole new market. IndiGo got access to Turkish Airlines vast network out of Istanbul, and Turkish Airlines got more access to Delhi and other destinations on IndiGo’s enormous domestic network.
Today, SpiceJet announced they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a codeshare agreement with Emirates. This will be SpiceJet’s first codeshare agreement. In terms of access, this is bigger than the IndiGo-Turkish Airlines codeshare.
The IndiGo – Turkish Airlines codeshare agreement primarily covers three non-stop flights between Mumbai/Delhi and Istanbul and will include one more non-stop when IndiGo’s second daily to Istanbul launches in July 2019.
SpiceJet – Emirates codeshare, on the other hand, will primarily cover SpiceJet’s 68 weekly non-stop flights between various stops from India to Dubai and Emirates’ 170 weekly flights between India and Dubai.
As a part of the codeshare agreement, SpiceJet will place its SG code on flights operated by Emirates to India, Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East. SpiceJet has emphasised that there will be minimum connection times when flying to destinations such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester and Amsterdam from Dubai. All the above destinations, except, Frankfurt were served non-stop from India by Jet Airways.
Further, the codeshare will expand to flights operated by Emirates to New York, Washington, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Jeddah, Kuwait and Amman apart from other destinations after regulatory approvals are in place.
Emirates, on the other hand, will benefit from six new non-stop destinations from Dubai operated by SpiceJet: Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai and Calicut which aren’t served by Emirates. Calicut is served by Emirates another partner airline, FlyDubai. Apart from the non-stop flights, Emirates will put its EK code on SpiceJet’s domestic flights covering 51 destinations in India.
SpiceJet has been working to this day for a long while. They signed up Amadeus to sell their inventory abroad, and also became members of IATA.
While the exact date of when the codeshare agreement will go live isn’t confirmed, it will take some time for regulatory approvals. Also due to Dubai runway closure, Emirates is reducing its flight operations by 25%, and SpiceJet is shifting some flights to Dubai World Central Airport (DWC).
Besides, due to the grounding of 13 737 MAX, SpiceJet is finding it difficult to maintain its flight schedule. Almost all flights to Dubai are delayed every day.
Though this situation won’t be an issue as SpiceJet is taking 22 Jet Airways 737 on dry lease to cover for the groundings as well as for expansion. Let’s hope the flight operations are back to normal soon.
In theory, the codeshare agreement is a brilliant initiative as it improves connectivity and offers more choices. But the idea of connecting to an LCC from an FSC isn’t great, that too on SpiceJet.
SpiceJet cosying up to Emirates isn’t new. In 2013, there were reports that Emirates was exploring a stake buy in SpiceJet but Emirates said that they were rumours. Let’s see if IndiGo enters into a bigger codeshare with Qatar Airways or not.
What are your thoughts about India’s self-proclaimed favourite airline signing a codeshare pact with Emirates?