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Last Updated : Mar 14, 2019 09:08 PM IST | Source:

SpiceJet rejigs operations to limit damage from B737 Max 8 grounding

On routes that have low demand, the 78-seater Q400 has been deployed and the Boeing 737 NG has been taken off and put on busier sectors.

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Low cost airline SpiceJet has tweaked its network, redeployed fleet and created a war room to manage the repercussions from the grounding of its 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Industry regulator DGCA on March 13 had announced the grounding of all 737 Max 8 aircraft in the country, following the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy, the second crash involving the Boeing model in five months.

Apart from SpiceJet, Jet Airways has five of these models in its fleet, but these are already grounded owing to its financial condition.

SpiceJet, which grounded 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, now has a fleet of 64 planes. "We have optimised their use and many additional frequencies have being operated by these planes," said an industry executive.

The steps may help the airline limit its damages, even as there were 32 cancellations on March 14.

On routes that have low demand, the 78-seater Q400 has been deployed and  the Boeing  737 NG has been taken off and put on busier sectors.

While the Delhi-Kabul flights have been cancelled, due to closure of Pakistan airspace after the Pulwama attacks, low-yield international flights like the Ahmedabad-Muscat ones have been withdrawn. "These aircraft have been deployed in the domestic market," said the executive.

As was announced by DGCA officials on Wednesday, SpiceJet will also get two planes on wet lease. "They will be inducted in two days and will start operating from Saturday," said the executive.

While these steps will help the airline regain some of the lost ground, industry experts say that it will be difficult to completely off-set the damage. "Each Max 8 aircraft has about 180 seats. And taking off 12 of them means that is about 2,000 seats a day," he said, pointing out the possible impact of the grounding.

It will be critical, added a research analyst, that the issue doesn't prolong for too long, or it could result in loss of profits.

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First Published on Mar 14, 2019 09:08 pm
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