LONDON – Due to the uptick in demand for cargo and logistical goods, SpiceJet (SG) has been able to operate 10,000 cargo-only flights since the beginning of this pandemic.

Such operations have been caused due to the restrictions set out by the Indian Government where only cargo and special flights such as repatriation could occur. SG also became the top cargo handler in October from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), it said in a statement.

“SpiceJet has operated 9,950 flights (till Nov 12) since the lockdown began on March 25, carrying 77,000 tonnes of cargo during the period,” a SpiceJet spokesperson told PTI.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Proud CEO

Also commenting on the news was the SG Chairman Ajay Singh who expressed pride in his team over efforts consisting over nine months.

“I am proud of the stellar performance of our cargo operations that has seen us emerged as the largest international cargo operator, among both Indian and foreign carriers operating out of the Delhi airport in October. The airline is hopeful of maintaining this momentum and strong performance, going forward”.

October 2020 as a monthly figure saw the airline handle a total of 3,850 tonnes of cargo, which included 1,731 tonnes of exported cargo.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Continued Cargo Growth

For a cargo carrier to be handling a significant amount of goods from just nine freighter aircraft can be seen as quite an achievement by SG.

The airline has five Boeing 737 freighters, three Bombardier Q400s and one Airbus A340, which has helped the airline carry all of these goods either domestically or overseas. The addition of the A340 made SG the only domestic carrier in India to put a widebody cargo plane into operation.

August this year saw the carrier use that aircraft to operate its maiden long-haul cargo flight with operations to Amsterdam (AMS) from Del.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Considerably Positive Year, All Things Considered

Even in a global pandemic, SpiceJet has been able to adapt well to changes caused by the virus, especially in the last few months as it seems relatively unphased by the pandemic.

Back in July, SG and IndiGo (6E) both announced that it was looking to wet-lease wide-body A330 aircraft to fly from London Heathrow (LHR).

A few weeks later, SpiceJet were given designation to begin American operations by the U.S carrier, potentially putting Air India (AI) to the test on the competitive scale.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Then on July 27, its third announcement in less than a month came in with the airline wanting to serve AMS commercially using an Airbus A330neo from leasing giant HiFly (5K).

As August approached, SG then confirmed it had confirmed slots at LHR and that flights would take place on September 1 due to the “air-bubble” arrangement agreed between the UK and Indian governments respectively. These flights were later delayed until December 4.

On August 8, the airline then operated its maiden charter flight to Canada, with the use of 5K’s A330neo, bringing home 352 Canadian nationals to Toronto (YYZ).

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Post-COVID Strategy?

Overall, it appears that SpiceJet has been preparing a lot during this pandemic, so then when some level of normality returns to the industry, it is fully prepared to thrive, not just in India, but potentially overseas as well.

It will be interesting to see how the AMS and LHR flights fare and whether they prove to be successful, especially with the likes of 6E, AI and Vistara (UK) also operating out of LHR in particular.

But for now, SG can bask in its glory as it is the largest cargo carrier in India at the moment, and will probably continue to be labelled that until demand for cargo restores to pre-COVID levels.

Featured Image: SpiceJet Boeing 737-700 freighter. Photo Credit: Airsoc