Mar 15, 2011
Mar 15, 2011
|By Neelam Mathews|
| India’s budget carrier SpiceJet by August will receive five of 15 Bombardier Q400s ordered last year. Its Q400 services will start in July.|
The carrier will soon announce a base for the turboprops, says CEO Neil Raymond Mills, but he declined to give the location.
An airline official told Aviation Week it was likely the base would be in Delhi or Hyderabad because parking at these airports is less congested than at other facilities.
The airline will also start services to two or three destinations in South Asia this year, “and one of them could be Male in the Maldives,” Mills said. Maldives comprises 1,190 islands, of which 97 are resorts.
Last year, SpiceJet announced it would start flights to Male, but then dropped the idea. Kingfisher Airlines this month will start two flights a week from Delhi and Mumbai to Gan International Airport in the Maldives, 900 km southwest of India.
The Maldives state minister of tourism told Aviation Week that the Indian market is being tapped aggressively by Maldives Tourism and that visitors from India are up.
“We are looking to change the perception in India that Maldives is just a luxury destination. We are now targeting the mid-market segment and hope that by the end of the year more Indians will start to head for the Maldives as more direct flights take off,” says Minister of Tourism Thoyyid Mohamed.
SpiceJet also wants to serve Tier 2 and 3 cities in India that have shorter runways where the Q400 can land. “We see an immense growth opportunity on those sectors,” adds Mills.
SpiceJet holds a 13% market share, with 25 Boeing 737s operating 153 flights daily to 20 Indian cities.
Q400 photo: Bombardier