It has been the story of blow hot/blow cold, but we have another firm date of launch from SpiceJet. 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 really 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, who 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. IndiGo has put off plans to fly to London. However, SpiceJet delayed their plans to October 2020, and today has finally announced their take-off date.
SpiceJet London Heathrow Plans revealed
SpiceJet announced today that they would fly from Delhi and Mumbai to London Heathrow from December 4, 2020, onwards, making use of the slots that London Heathrow has allocated them as a part of the air bubble with India till March 31, 2021, for now.
SpiceJet will use a wet-leased Airbus A330-900 aircraft for this service, with 353 economy class seats and 18 business class seats. Although SpiceJet did not specify the owner of the wet-lease aircraft, it would be HiFly, given the description of the plane and the seats. Using the same slots at London’s Heathrow Airport, SpiceJet will operate twice a week from Delhi and once-a-week from Mumbai. In London, SpiceJet will use Terminal 2 to operate the flights.
The flights will operate as follows:
SG9594 DEL1300 – 1730LHR 339 57
SG9595 LHR1930 – 0755+1DEL 339 15
SG9596 BOM1245 – 1730LHR 339 1
SG9597 LHR1930 – 0845+1BOM 339 7
Here is the HiFly Business Class product, which is in a 2-2-2 configuration. Customers will be served meals on the flight, and also get two bags of 30 kilos each.
In Economy, most seats will be on paid assignment apart from the middle seats and will cost anywhere between 9-18 GBP. The plane offers a 3-3-3 configuration.
Flights are on sale on SpiceJet.com.
When this flies, SpiceJet will become the first no-frills carrier from India to venture into Long-Haul international flying. Unfortunately, their model is the same as a full-service carrier, including meals etc. even for Economy in the cost of the ticket. What the launch of this flight indicates, however, is that India – UK Air bubbles will be around for a while, and hence, scheduled commercial flights may not be starting anytime soon.
What do you think of SpiceJet launching long-haul international flights? Do you think they will make good money on these flights or these are a diversion from their core operations in India?