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IndiGo or SpiceJet: Who is winning the race to fill Jet Airways’ gap?

The two rivals from NCR have nearly matched each other's pace in adding flights. But, one has been more aggressive in adding aircraft.

April 25, 2019 / 11:54 AM IST
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Since Jet Airways suspended its operations on April 17, SpiceJet appears to have made the most and hogged headlines when it comes to adding flights and aircraft. But, that doesn't mean IndiGo has been far behind in using the opportunities.

In fact, when it comes to adding flights, the country's largest airline may have shown its prowess.

In April itself, IndiGo added 84 flights nationally and internationally. This must be the fastest expansion of a network that the country's aviation industry has seen for some time. The expansion includes six international flights. Of the 72 domestic ones, four flights are on the routes dedicated to UDAN, the government scheme to promote regional connectivity.

Also Read: Jet Airways to validate refund claims in 45 days

IndiGo added 14 flights in March and 17 in January. In total, the low-cost carrier added 115 flights this year so far.

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SpiceJet?

The Delhi-based airline has been almost-equally aggressive, adding 110 flights this year till now.

SpiceJet started the year on a slow mode but quickly picked up pace. It added 20 flights in February, 36 in March and 54 in April to its network. And, the month is not over yet.

Most of the flights added by these airlines are in Mumbai and Delhi, where Jet Airways had 440 slots in two airports.

Fleet expansion

SpiceJet has been more aggressive when it comes to adding aircraft to its fleet. The airline has till now added 27 aircraft to its fleet. These include five Bombardier Q400, and the rest are Boeing 737s. Some of those were transferred from Jet Airways’ fleet.

"We will induct as many as 27 planes in a record time of less than two weeks and are hopeful that these inductions will help considerably ease the pressure situation,” Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said in a statement on April 18. It currently has 75 aircraft in its fleet; IndiGo has 220.

In a recent interview, Singh added that his company would also recruit about 1,000 employees of Jet Airways.

SpiceJet's aggression has got a thumbs up from investors. Its stock has risen more than 50 percent in three months. In comparison, IndiGo's scrip has also jumped but is slower at about 25 percent. Not surprisingly, Jet Airways shares have slumped over 30 percent.
Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: Apr 25, 2019 11:54 am

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