SpiceJet, IndiGo plan to launch long-haul flights

As the global aviation sector begins to regain its momentum, airlines around the world are looking for ways to boost profits and maximise revenue. The case is also visible in India. The national carrier, Air India has flown over 1,000 flights through the Vande Bharat mission to various countries. This repatriation mission has indeed brought in some much-needed revenue for the struggling airline. Similarly, low-cost giants, IndiGo and SpiceJet are also trying to regain revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic with both airlines planning to launch long haul services.

SpiceJet is leasing four Airbus A330s from Oman Air and has already taken delivery of the first. The airline plans to launch low-cost services to London from July 27th, 2020. SpiceJet will also use Oman Air’s slots to operate into London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL).

An insider in the airline who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Economic Times: “SpiceJet would also use Oman Air’s slot available at Heathrow to launch this flight. They are also looking at leasing three more for such flights. IndiGo, on the other hand, is looking to wet-lease three aircraft to launch these flights.”

Photo by Pascal Weste | AeroNewsX

IndiGo also plans to launch long haul services to Europe; rumoured destinations include London and Paris. IndiGo will lease three Airbus A330s to operate these routes.

“Under the new norm of flying post-COVID, people would prefer direct flights over a break journey through hubs. If Indian airlines can utilize this opportunity to prepare themselves for long-haul flights, there will be new business available for them. We would like to see money spent on travel coming to Indian airlines rather than going to airlines in the Middle East or Southeast Asia,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be identified, to The Economic Times

In other news, SpiceJet has been designated to operate scheduled services to the United States, complementing or even competing against Air India's existing offering to the region. Previously, Jet Airways used to offer one-stop services to the United States via Europe. Unfortunately, the airline ceased operations last year.

As it stands, the only Indian airlines which have aircraft with long-haul capabilities include Air India and Vistara. The latter recently took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9.

Flying post-COVID-19, most people will prefer to fly directly to their destination rather than stop-over in a major hub, something which could open new opportunities for Indian carriers, and is a prospect being backed fully by the Indian government.

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