Friday, October 8, 2010

SpiceJet Goes International With Delhi-Kathmandu Flights

Low-Cost carriers

Aviation Daily Oct 08 , 2010 , p. 06
Neelam Mathews

India’s budget airline SpiceJet started its first international service Oct. 7 to Kathmandu, Nepal, from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport with six flights per week.

The carrier will start its second international flight, this one from Chennai to Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Oct. 9.

SpiceJet completed five years of domestic operations earlier this year, making it eligible to fly abroad under Indian law, and is the first Indian budget airline to start international operations.

SpiceJet has a 13% market share of Indian carriers, and operates 147 flights daily to 20 cities in India with a fleet of 22 Boeing 737-800/737-900ER aircraft. Recently, the carrier ordered 30 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Low-cost rival IndiGo will complete five years of domestic operations in August 2011 and is expected to start international operations in the winter schedule.

“By connecting Kathmandu with India, we will play an important role in promoting trade and tourism between the two countries,” says SpiceJet CEO Samyukth Sridharan.

Media baron Kalanithi Maran, with his unlisted aviation firm Kal Airways, recently upped his stake to 45% in SpiceJet. The shares were purchased in June from its promoter Bhupendra Kansagra and Wilbur Ross, who is now said to be investing $150 million in Kingfisher Airlines.

SpiceJet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal left soon after the new board was formed and has now been appointed as CEO of Kingfisher Airlines.

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