SpiceJet ordered to cap flights at 50% for another month

The troubles at SpiceJet don’t seem to narrow down, but rather grow. After a spate of incidents which involved the airline earlier this year, SpiceJet was asked to cut down their flights to 50% of capacity towards the end of July 2022 by the Indian aviation regulator, DGCA. SpiceJet was told that they should use this time to display their financial resources as well as the ability to run a safe operation. However, things have not been smooth since.

6 SpiceJet Aircraft returned to lessors under IDERA

IDERA is the process under which a lessor can request for an aircraft to be released to them within five days of sending a notice to the regulator, DGCA. Between July and August 2022, six aircraft have already been deregistered by the DGCA under the said process:

  • VT-SYY 
  • VT-SYW
  • VT-SYX
  • VT-SXD
  • VT-SPU
  • VT-SGQ

SpiceJet sends 80 pilots on leave without pay

Not just that, SpiceJet has earlier this week announced that it will send 80 pilots (combined number) on leave without pay from its pool of pilots that operate their Boeing 737 fleet and the Dash 400 aircraft. This will be done for a period of three months, and ostensibly, to reduce costs at the airline.

SpiceJet says it will start inducting the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft towards the end of the year, however, a quick check across various plane tracking websites does not indicate any new airframes that are being prepared for SpiceJet at the moment.

SpiceJet ordered to continue curtailed schedule through October 2022

In an order issued by the DGCA yesterday, SpiceJet was told to further continue the curtailment of their schedule for another month or so, till October 29, 2022.

This does not really make too much of a difference to the airline, honestly. Before the order came through, in April 2022 SpiceJet only operated 48.5% of their scheduled flights and 52% in May 2022. So, throughout August and September 2022, SpiceJet was essentially allowed to operate a maximum of 2096 weekly flights as compared to their approved schedule of 4192 weekly flights. During the period under “enhanced surveillance”, in August 2022, SpiceJet operated roughly 1550 flights per week, so they are much below the bar.

However, with the current move, the regulator has ensured that SpiceJet does not operate more than what it can, and in this respect, hopefully there will be less complaints of SpiceJet customers who are stranded during the Diwali travel period because of the airline.

Bottomline

SpiceJet, the Indian no-frills carrier which has been financially troubled for a while, will see another extended period of “enhanced surveillance” where the regulator has asked them to operate less than 50% of their approved flights. They have already had to let go six aircraft under the lessor repossession process (IDERA), and there is also the certain risk that their slots might be given away to other airlines in the coming weeks.

What do you make of SpiceJet’s current extended surveillance? Too little too late, or is there more to come?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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