It has been the story of blow hot/blow cold. SpiceJet has been trying to fly to London for a very long time but has not been getting their ducks in a row till so far. Flying long-haul means SpiceJet could not use their existing aircraft, the 737s to fly that far. The other hitch in their plan was that they wanted to fly to London Heathrow, something that is perhaps more a prestige issue than anything else. So, they did not start their operations when they were granted slots in other London airports such as Gatwick/Stansted which are lower on costs than Heathrow.
The pandemic has opened opportunities for both Vistara and SpiceJet. They were granted ad-hoc slots after various airlines reduced operations to London and all of a sudden, space-constrained airport now had slots to give out to airlines which were denied those slots for months if not years. Vistara has already launched their London Heathrow flights from Delhi in August 2020, although instead of scaling it up from 4x weekly, they have had to go 3x weekly for now due to a lockdown in the UK right now. IndiGo has put off plans to fly to London. However, SpiceJet delayed their plans, finally announced their first take-off date as December 4, 2020, putting in place a wet lease of HiFly’s brand new A330-900neo on the DEL-LHR & v.v./BOM-LHR & v.v. routes. These flights were intended to operate till March 31, 2021, which is when the air bubble between India and UK ends for the time being.
SpiceJet London Heathrow Plans postponed
Uh-oh. SpiceJet told the Times of India recently that they had moved their plans to launch the flights to a later date. This move seems to have been made around November 19, 2020, when some customers got a call from SG about the cancellation of their flights booked to London Heathrow. SpiceJet pinned this on the UK complete lockdown, which is supposed to end on December 2, 2020. Although the reasons could be a combination of the lockdown, not enough tickets selling, non-availability of the charter aircraft and so on.
A SpiceJet spokesperson said to the TOI,
In view of the prevailing conditions in the United Kingdom, SpiceJet has decided to postpone the launch of its seasonal flights to London, which were scheduled under the India-UK air
bubble agreement. Passengers booked on our flights can opt for a full refund or will be provided a transfer on another airline by SpiceJet at no additional cost.
At least they offered to rebook the passengers on another flight. Which means you could have booked in SpiceJet, but could now be flying British Airways, Vistara, Air India or Virgin Atlantic to London or back.
It seems there is no planned date for this service to launch at the moment. I looked for a flight to London LHR from Delhi on SpiceJet’s website to February 2021 and part of March as well, and no flights showed up on the schedule up for sale. However, on their Social media handles, there is no announcement of the cancellation of flights, and as the pinned message, you will still be seeing SpiceJet’s plans to launch flights on December 4, 2020.
The wait is finally over! Proud to be the first Indian low-cost carrier to start non-stop flights to London Heathrow from Delhi and Mumbai. Can’t wait to see you all on-board starting December 4 for a Red Hot Spicy journey.@AjaySingh_SG @HardeepSPuri @prahladspatel @ranil pic.twitter.com/TCFdv1fZHP
— SpiceJet (@flyspicejet) October 5, 2020
SpiceJet will have to wait to become the first no-frills carrier from India to venture into Long-Haul international flying. SpiceJet flights to London Heathrow are cancelled for the foreseeable future, and if you were booked on one, talk to SpiceJet to get yourself a replacement flight, or collect your full refund.
When do you think will SpiceJet London flights will finally launch?
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