LONDON – This week in continued revelations over long-haul operations, Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet (SG) has been given the designation of “Indian scheduled carrier” to operate flights from India to the United States.

BSE, the legal and company secretary to SG said that agreements have been made between the Indian and the U.S Government to assign such a designation.

SpiceJet Boeing 737-86N SDS-1. Photo: ©Sean d’Silva

First to Fly to the US

If SG were to launch services, it would become the first budget company to fly to the U.S from India.

Air India are the only airline who operate to the U.S so far.

And again, if the Indian budget carrier was to operate to the U.S, then it would be the first carrier since Jet Airways was grounded in April 2019 where this would be attempted.

It could be understood that SpiceJet would operate services on a point-to-point basis as opposed to Air India’s (AI) strategy of further connectivity through the use of the Star Alliance network.

SpiceJet ROJ 737 MAX8 Artwork K66053

A Better Place Post-COVID?

In an article by Moneycontrol, Ajay Singh, the Chairman & Managing Director of the airline stated that such designation by the respective governments would enable international expansion on a “much better and calibrated matter”.

For the likes of SpiceJet, it is going to have to be a waiting game with the Indian government as it awaits the next hurdle. Lockdown.

Since March 22, the country has suspended all international flights into the company, in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

The only exception to the rule has been with Air India’s Vande Bharat Mission of which Indian citizens were repatriated back into the country.

Photo: Luca Flores

Big International Expansion on the Cards?

It appears that SpiceJet is very much mulling over a big international expansion, especially after its news from yesterday about the potential to wet-lease Airbus A330 aircraft to operate London flights.

Both IndiGo (6E) and SG have had the idea of using wide-body aircraft to fly to Europe before. Neither airline, however, has decided to expand from its low-cost routes.

But with this latest development from the SpiceJet side, it definitely portrays the suggestion that this is in big consideration and that the opportunity is there to thrive out of India and take on Air India.

SpiceJet ROJ 737 MAX8 Artwork K66052

Aircraft for US Route

The big question would be, what aircraft would it use on services to the U.S? Would it remain with the A330 or would it move further afield to the A350 or Boeing 777?

In-all, this is definitely something of a revelation. It could produce confidence in the market, especially with the likes of IndiGo (6E) considering more further afield destinations.

Only time will tell, with the respective announcements, whether the airlines in India will go through with this and if so, what destinations will it serve.