SpiceJet has rapidly inducted 22 ex-Jet Airways 737s, with around 19 of them already flying. SpiceJet has plans to take up eight more ex-Jet Airways 737s in another 10-15 days. SpiceJet hasn’t reconfigured these or added their livery as they wanted to press the aircraft into service as soon as possible, to take advantage of lucrative temporary Jet Airways slots being made available.
Spicejet has added a lot of new flights temporarily using Jet Airways slots.
- SpiceJet added flights from Mumbai
- 12 new SpiceJet flights from Mumbai and Delhi
- 15 additional new SpiceJet flights from Mumbai and Delhi
- SpiceJet adds flights to Jeddah and domestic flights
- Spicejet adds nine flights from Mumbai
According to SpiceJet’s CFO Kiran Koteshwar in an interview with the Financial Express,
The deals we have got are very exceptional because the situation was more opportunistic. It was a win-win for both lessors and us. Their aircraft was stranded in India and it would have taken them a long time to rationalise the asset. We asked them to get the aircraft airworthy and did short-term leases of 1-2 years.
SpiceJet has entered into a lease agreement for ex-Jet Airways 737s for a period up to which a significant check is due. Addition of a 2-class 737s meant, SpiceJet took the hybrid route from a no-frills way by adding a business class service. SpiceJet launched SpiceBiz on May 11, 2019, on quite a few routes.
But, it looks like SpiceJet is rethinking its strategy of a hybrid model and wants to do away with SpiceBiz as soon as feasible. SpiceJet’s CFO said,
We are very clear that SpiceJet’s is a low-cost model. We have not launched any business class product. It was just that we had seats, which we inherited with the aircraft. We didn’t want to ground the aircraft during a peak season to reconfigure the seats. In August, when the lean season starts, we will see the results if we want to continue it or not.
This statement makes it clear that SpiceBiz is more like a stop-gap arrangement. It was never meant to compete with the business class being offered by Vistara or Air India, nor could it replace the void created due to Jet Airways.
Unlike Jet Airways, SpiceJet doesn’t have a full-fledged frequent flyer program through which passengers can upgrade using points nor does SpiceJet have any interline or codeshare agreements with other carriers at the moment. These helped Jet Airways fill up a part of the cabin apart from regular and loyal customers which SpiceJet lacks. Also, SpiceJet launched SpiceBiz just days in advance.
According to SpiceJet’s CFO, they have already started ordering extra seats to reconfigure the aircraft to a single class 189 seat configuration.
Our plan is to bring back (the aircraft) to 189 seats. In fact, we have started ordering seats because we don’t want to re-look and then decide to order seats as another two months will go into it.
Currently, Spicejet has three different types of economy class seats (apart from SpiceMax seats) onboard their fleet. One type of Economy class seat is the one which will you will find on erstwhile SpiceJet 737NG aircraft. The second type of seats, you will find on the grounded SpiceJet 737 MAX. And the third type of economy class seats are the Jet Airways economy class seats with SpiceJet branding on them.
So out of these three types of economy class seats, which one has SpiceJet ordered to replace the business class seats on ex-Jet Airways 737s? Will they replace all the seats on ex-Jet Airways 737s or add 33 new seats?
It won’t be an easy task. SpiceJet will have to reconfigure the aircraft entirely to fit 189 seats with a reduced seat pitch. Also, there is no comment on the ex-Jet Airways 737-700 and 737-900 that SpiceJet is inducting, so we don’t know if these will be reconfigured as well.
As of now, SpiceJet operates four 737-700 in 3 different configurations. One of the 737-700 is in a 2 class configuration. 2 of the 737-700 are in a single class 149 seat configuration whereas one 737-700 is in a single class 144 seat configuration. You get the drift.
Reconfiguring an aircraft is not cheap. For an airline which doesn’t have a consistent livery, will they pay for reconfiguring the aircraft? If not them then will lessors share these costs too like for significant checks (if they are due) on these aircraft? There is no mention of SpiceJet putting its livery on these 737s for now. I guess SpiceJet might paint them white and a SpiceJet logo if and when the aircraft will be reconfigured in August 2019. We will see if it happens, and when it happens.