Another one of India’s budget airlines – SpiceJet – has received the DGCA’s approval to wet lease aircraft for this year’s winter schedule. The carrier received the nod for five 737 MAX aircraft earlier this month as it looks to capitalize on increased demand in the months ahead.

More MAX planes for winter

Anticipating high traffic volumes in the coming months, Indian airlines are relying on wet leasing of aircraft to maintain and even expand capacity. According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), SpiceJet received approval earlier this month from India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, to wet lease five Boeing 737 MAX airplanes for six months.

The airline is also said to be already operating two of those airplanes and awaiting three more deliveries in the coming weeks. Earlier, it was reported that SpiceJet could add up to seven planes on wet lease to replace the recently deregistered planes following lease payment defaults. The aircraft are said to be coming from Turkish carrier Corendon Airlines.

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Spicejet B737 MAX

This comes shortly after reports of the DGCA rejecting IndiGo’s demand for wet leasing Boeing 777 jets from Turkish Airlines for two years. Like SpiceJet, IndiGo has also been allowed to operate planes on wet lease for a maximum of six months.

While wet leasing aircraft can be more expensive for airlines, the resulting revenue increase will, hopefully, offset some of that for both the LCCs.

Better days ahead?

SpiceJet is wet leasing these planes after a year of challenges and intense scrutiny of its operations. Struggling with weak finances, the airline was at the center of media and public attention for several incidents and resulting action from the DGCA, such as fleet inspection and a reduction in capacity by half.

But recently, the carrier has shown signs of a comeback. Earlier this month, it was revealed that SpiceJet will receive a loan of around $122 million under the Indian government’s modified Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS). It was said that the carrier will use the money to “clear all statutory dues, lessor payments, induct brand new MAX planes.”

SpiceJet Dash 8

Photo: Getty Images

This was followed by news of a pay hike for its pilots and the DGCA finally lifting the capacity cap on its flights. The restriction came following an operational inspection in which the airline was deemed incapable of running its entire operation safely. But it now seems to have fixed those issues and met the regulator’s standards allowing it to resume all operations.

With the winter schedule starting in a few days, we’ll get to know how much these measures affect the carrier’s bottom line in a few months from now.

What are your views on this? Please leave a comment below.

Source: PTI via Mint


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