SpiceJet Launches Seven New Domestic Routes

SpiceJet has announced seven new domestic routes this week, six of which currently have no competitors. Bhavnagar, in the state of Gujarat, will see three new services, while Gwalior, Ajmer, and Varanasi will see new flights too. SpiceJet is also adding a new Pune-Tirupati service next week. Let’s find out more.

SpiceJet Q400
All of the new routes announced this week will be flown by SpiceJet’s fleet of DHC Q400s. Photo: Getty Images

Keep ’em coming

According to Mint, SpiceJet has announced seven new routes that will kick off flights this week itself. Most of the new routes come from the low-cost carrier’s new base in Bhavnagar, Gujrat, from where it is starting flights to New Delhi, Mumbai, and Surat. These routes fall under the government’s UDAN-RCS (regional connectivity scheme), giving airlines subsidies for flying from select destinations.

SpiceJet is also tapping into other regional markets across the country. The carrier is launching the first direct link from Pune to Tirupati, a busy temple city in Andhra Pradesh. New connections will also be found from Varanasi to Dehradun, Gwalior to Jaipur, and Kishangarh/Ajmer to Mumbai.

Spicejet Q400
As competition stiffens on domestic routes, SpiceJet is doubling down on government-subsidized domestic routes. Photo: Premnath Kudva via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned, SpiceJet will deploy its fleet of 29 passenger De Havilland Canada Q400s on the new markets. The all-economy turboprops seat 78 passengers in an all-economy 2-2 layout.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Push and pull

While SpiceJet has been adding dozens of new routes, many of their survival will remain in doubt. Over the last week alone, the carrier has pulled out of all routes from Vijaywada and on the Silchar-Chennai route due to low passenger demand and to stem losses. As the carrier struggles with poor finances and deep losses, more routes could go in the near future.

Despite the difficult situation, the carrier is still trying to add new, potentially profitable routes under the government’s UDAN scheme. The combination of subsidies (including cash) and relatively strong domestic demand might just be enough to justify the massive expenses of adding new destinations. All but one of this week’s flights (Bhavnagar-Mumbai) are the only available direct connections.

SpiceJet Q400
SpiceJet could be facing down the barrel of another crisis soon: not enough planes for new routes. Photo: Getty Images

Since July, SpiceJet has added over two dozen new routes as Indian aviation recovers from a devastating second wave in the spring. In a statement, MD Ajay Singh said,

“In line with our commitment to enhance regional connectivity and put the smaller cities on the country’s aviation map, SpiceJet is launching 14 new flights, out of which as many as 12 – Bhavnagar-Delhi, Bhavnagar-Surat, Gwalior-Jaipur, Kishangarh (Ajmer)- Mumbai, Pune-Tirupati and Varanasi-Dehradun are industry first flights.”

Problems

Despite a strong regional network and slot allocation at key airports, SpiceJet’s expansion could be in trouble. This is due to its legal issues with de Havilland Canada, which has permission to cancel its order for Q400s and could chase the airline for millions in damages over not taking deliveries. Without a steady stream of regional aircraft, competitors are quickly closing in on SpiceJet’s dominant market.

What do you think about SpiceJet’s new routes? Let us know in the comments!

27 Shares: