SpiceJet will launch 21 new routes next week, both domestic and international ones. The carrier will add a new route from Mumbai to Ras Al Khaimah while also increasing its frequency from Delhi. On the domestic side, expect new routes out of both Delhi and Hyderabad.
SpiceJet is doubling down on its plans to expand operations at Ras Al Khaimah Airport. Just over a month ago, the budget airline operated its first route from Delhi to Ras Al Khaimah with a twice-weekly service. Starting January 12th, this service will be increased to four times a week using a Boeing 737-800, according to a press release seen by The Hindu.
The airline will also launch a twice-weekly Mumbai to Ras Al Khaimah next week, further connecting the smaller Emirate in the UAE. This expansion comes over a year after SpiceJet announced plans to open a Middle East base in Ras Al Khaimah, similar to what Wizz Air has done in Abu Dhabi.
However, this base has not yet materialized with regulatory issues and the downturn from 2020 likely blocking the path. The two new routes are good news for Ras Al Khaimah Airport, which has long been looking to grow its limited flight network. Considering the current aviation environment, a new base seems far away.
New domestic routes
SpiceJet is adding several new domestic routes as we enter the new year too. The industrial hub of Jharsuguda in Odisha will see direct flights from both Bangalore and Mumbai, likely using DHC Bombardier Q400s. The Delhi-Jharsuguda will be upgraded to a 737 service from the current Q400s on the route, signaling strong traffic from the city.
Hyderabad, which will see its first US route to Chicago next week, is set to add three new regional routes. SpiceJet will fly new routes from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, and Vijayawada. These flights will provide important connections from major hubs to smaller cities in India. While not confirmed, we can expect the Q400 to fly these short routes.
In addition, SpiceJet will also start new services to Darbhanga, Bihar from Ahemdabad, Hyderabad, and Pune next week. The city already sees flights from major hubs like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
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Return of the MAX?
As more countries unground the 737 MAX, all eyes are on SpiceJet and India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA. India is yet to give a firm timeline on when the MAX will return to the skies, saying in November 2020 that the recertification will “take some time.”
More recently, India has been considering doing its due diligence on the 737 MAX and waiting for Europe’s EASA to first clear the plane, according to Mint.
However, the DGCA’s decision to wait for certification means SpiceJet will be unable to fly its fleet of 13 planes. The budget carrier also has one of the largest orders for the 737 MAX globally, with hundreds of pending deliveries. Once the MAX is recertified in India, we can expect a significant expansion by SpiceJet into new routes.
What do you think about SpiceJet’s plans? Let us know in the comments!