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ROJ-FLIGHT CREW AD -2011-01
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ROJ-VISIT INDIA-SPICEROUTE MAGAZINE
ROJ-VISIT NORTHERN INDIA
ROJ-VISIT NORTHERN INDIA-A
ROJ-VISIT TAJ MAHAL
STARTED OPERATIONS IN 1993. FORMERLY A SUBSIDIARY OF ROYAL AIRWAYS LTD. DOMESTIC, & REGIONAL, PASSENGER & CARGO, JET AIRPLANE SERVICES.
319 Udyog Vihar, Phase IV
Gurgaon Haryana 122016, INDIA
INDIA (REPUBLIC OF INDIA) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1947, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 3,287,590 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 970 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS NEW DELHI, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ARE HINDI AND ENGLISH.
OCTOBER 1993: SERVICES TO AGARTALA, AGRA, AHMEDABAD, BANGALORE, BOMBAY, CALCUTTA, CALICUT, COCHIN, GOA, GUWAHATI, JAIPUR, JAMMU, JODHPUR, KHAJURAHO, LEH, LUCKNOW, MADRAS, SILCHAR, UDAIPUR, AND VARANASI.
90% LF (LOAD FACTOR).
3 737-230'S (PK908; PK909; PK910), (DLH) LEASED.
SEPTEMBER 1995: PLANS TO ACQUIRE 4 NEWER 737-400'S. LUFTHANSA (DLH) SHAREHOLDING MAY ALLOW THEM TO ACQUIRE 7 737-400'S. 1 737-400 (CFM56-3C1), EX-(UKL).
OCTOBER 1995: ADDED AGRA, KHAJURAHO, & UDAIPUR ROUTES.
DECEMBER 1995: SKYLINE NEPC (DAI) MADE A BID FOR 47% OF MODILUFT (MOU).
JANUARY 1996: 1995 = +$1.6 MILLION.
944 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 165 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 132 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
737-400 MAINTENANCE BY FLS (ATD).
MAY 1996: LUFTHANSA (DLH) SEVERS ALL TIES WITH MODILUFT (MOU), DUE TO "FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS BETWEEN TWO PARTNERS." (DLH) HAD SUPPLIED 7 737'S WITH MAINTENANCE & FLIGHT CREWS, BUT WILL NOW CANCEL LEASE OF AT LEAST 3 737'S.
SEPTEMBER 1996: STILL HAS NOT RETURNED 3 737-230'S LEASED FROM LUFTHANSA (DLH).
JANUARY 1997: CEASED OPERATIONS. NO AIRPLANES IN FLEET.
APRIL 1997: LUFTHANSA (DLH) TO RECOVER 3 737-230'S, LEASED, AFTER MUMBAI HIGH COURT ACTION.
AUGUST 1997: SETTLES OUT OF COURT WITH LUFTHANSA (DLH) AFTER 1 YEAR OF GROUNDING SO AS TO RESTART OPERATIONS, PROVIDING COMPENSATION OF $425,000, +$5 MILLION OVER 3 YEARS.
SEPTEMBER 1997: S K MODI, CHAIRMAN, ANNOUNCES MODILUFT (MOU) IS POISED FOR AN EARLY RE-LAUNCH.
NOVEMBER 1997: HOPING FOR BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAB) ASSISTANCE TO RE-LAUNCH JANUARY 1998. (BAB) TO PROVIDE A MANAGING DIRECTOR.
APRIL 1998: PLANS TO RESTART DOMESTIC OPERATIONS IN THE 3RD QUARTER 1998.
JUNE 1998: INDIAN COURTS DECIDES TO NOT RESTART SERVICES.
JANUARY 1999: PLANS TO RESUME SERVICE CHANGING NAME FROM "MODILUFT" TO "ROYAL AIRLINES" (ROJ). STILL MAJORITY OWNED BY SATISH MODI & NOW HAS BACKING OF UK CONSULTING COMPANY "SPEEDWINGS." MAY LEASE UP TO 12 737-300/-400 AIRPLANES TO SERVE 14 ROUTES.
SEPTEMBER 1999: STILL PLANNING TO RESTART BEFORE THE END OF 1999, WITH 737-400, MALAYSIAN (MAS) LEASED BY ROYAL HOLDINGS, UK, WHO INTEND TO INVEST $17.5 MILLION TO BECOME MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER.
OCTOBER 1999: THE GOVERNMENT OK'S RESTART AS SCHEDULED DOMESTIC CARRIER IN 2000. IT HAS AGREED TO NEW NAME "ROYAL AIRWAYS" (ROJ) AND NEW LOGO. LEGALLY, IT HAS TO RETAIN THE COMPANY NAME "MODILUFT."
MAY 2000: THE MINISTRY OF CIVIL AVIATION REVOKES (MOU)'S AIR OPERATING CERTIFICATE (AOC) UNTIL OUTSTANDING COURT CASES ARE SETTLED.
AUGUST 2000: HOPES TO RESUME OPERATIONS BY OCTOBER 2000.
SEPTEMBER 2000: SECURES $22.5 MILLION LOAN FROM ALLIED BOSTON BANK/ROYAL FINANCE. ROYAL AIRWAYS (SUBSIDIARY OF ROYAL HOLDINGS SERVICES, UK) PLANS TO ACQUIRE 54.68% OF (MOU), AND RESTART OPERATIONS AS "ROYAL AIRWAYS" WITH UP TO 5 737'S, AND 12 AIRPLANES WITHIN 2 YEARS. INITIALLY, PLANS TO LEASE 4 737-400'S.
NOVEMBER 2000: THE GOVERNMENT OK'S START OF OPERATIONS IN JANUARY 2001, WITH 5 LEASED 737'S.
S K MODI, NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OWNS 45.3%, AND ROYAL HOLDINGS SERVICE (RHS) HOLDS 54.7%.
THE GOVERNMENT OK'S THE LEASE OF 12 AIRPLANES.
DECEMBER 2000: ROYAL (ROJ) WILL PROBABLY START OPERATIONS IN APRIL 2001. POSSIBLY WILL OPERATE 3 737-36N'S (28568; 28571; 28586).
FEBRUARY 2001: 1 737-4YO, BABCOCK (BBB) LEASED 2001-04.
APRIL 2001: PLANS STARTUP AS "ROYAL AIRWAYS" (ROJ), WITH 1 737-4YO (1781-24519, /89 33 16 TC-ACA), EX-CAYMAN (CAY), (BBB) LEASED. PLANS TO LEASE +4 737'S, INCLUDING 2 WITHIN 2 MONTHS, AND OPERATE 5 AIRPLANES BY END OF 2001.
NOVEMBER 2001: (ROJ)'S 1 LEASED 737-400 HAS BEEN PARKED IN ARKANSAS SINCE EARLIER THIS YEAR, AS (ROJ) PURSUES FINAL APPROVAL TO OPERATE FROM THE INDIAN REGULATORY AUTHORITY. (ROJ) HAS LAID OFF MOST OF EMPLOYEES, RETAINING A MINIMUM CORE GROUP.
THE 737-400 WILL BE RETURNED TO ITS LESSOR.
September 2003: 2nd An-12, British Gulf International Airlines leased, for Lahore - Karachi - Dubai route.
November 2004: Received approval for operations early next year from Delhi to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai & Kolkata (Calcutta) (5 737-400's).
February 2005: "Royal Airways" forms a subsidiary operating under the name "SpiceJet" and places an $630M, 10/10 orders 737-800's (CFM56-7B)). SpiceJet intends to start service in 5/05 with 3 737-800's leased.
April 2005: 2 737-85F's (28824, VT-SPC; 28827, VT-SPD), GATX (GAX) leased.
May 2005: Became the 2nd Low Cost Carrier (LCC) to launch operations in the Indian domestic market. It is the creation of Ajay Singh, the Kasangara family, and Sanjay Malhotra.
June 2005: 737-86N (28621, VT-SPE), ex-Futura International (FUA), (BBB) leased.
September 2005: UK and India officially signed a bilateral air services treaty replacing the one dating to 1951. The bilateral formalizes new traffic rights that will allow UK airlines to operate 56 services per week between London Heathrow and Delhi or Mumbai, 14 weekly services from the UK to Bangalore and to Chennai, plus seven weekly services to each or any other destination in India by the end of next year. Indian airlines can operate a similar number of services on routes between Heathrow and Delhi or Mumbai and may provide unlimited service to other UK destinations. In addition, the agreement provides for unlimited cargo services.
October 2005: SpiceJet (ROJ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Delhi to Kolkata on November 6th. The airline will operate a daily flight using its Boeing 737-800s. (ROJ) will also introduce a direct flight from Delhi to Mumbai on November 14th, which would be in addition to the service operated via Ahmedabad. (ROJ) will inaugurate service from Delhi to Jammu and Srinagar on November 10th. The airline will operate 6 flights a week in a circle, offering local Jammu - Srinagar service as well, using a 737-800.
2 737-8K2's (28375, VT-SPY; 29345, VT-SPZ), Transavia (TAV) leased.
November 2005: Indian state-run oil companies reduced the price of aviation turbine fuel by -1.85%, effective November 1st due to the drop in international oil prices, "Newindpress" reported. For domestic airlines, the price per kiloliter has been cut approximately -2% to INR35,761/$792.31 in Delhi and INR36,715 in Mumbai. For international carriers, the price has gone down -4% to $609 per kiloliter in Delhi and $601 in Mumbai.
SpiceJet (ROJ) ordered 10 737-800 Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) Blended Winglet shipsets for installation beginning in January.
December 2005: Names its airplanes after spices. Also, its stewardesses are known as "Spice Girls."
New services from New Delhi to Kolkata, Jammu, and Srinager.
January 2006: SpiceJet (ROJ) reportedly will be converting options for 10 737NGs to 737-900ERs. CEO, Siddhanta Sharma said that the orders are likely to be placed in August. The carrier has ordered 10 737-800s and has 10 options.
February 2006: SpiceJet (ROJ) took delivery of the 1st of 10 737-800s and also holds options on a further 10 airplanes.
(ROJ) formally ordered five 737-800s and five 737-900ERs. The order confirms options announced when the airline ordered 10 737-800s last year.
(ROJ) will lease one used 737-800 airplane from ILFC (ILF) (30660), powered by (CFM56-7B27) engines and is scheduled to deliver in March 2006. The lease term is for five years.
737-8GJ (34896, VT-SPF) delivery.
March 2006: 737-83N (30660), (ILF) leased.
April 2006: SpiceJet (ROJ) will launch an additional flight from Delhi to Srinagar on May 10th. The flights will operate on a daily basis using a 737-800. (ROJ) is taking delivery of its 6th 737-800.
May 2006: Indian domestic airports recorded a near +10% increase in cargo traffic in the 12 months to March 31 over the previous corresponding period. The biggest increases were recorded at Tiruchi (up +114.8%), Patna (up +37.2%), Bangalore (up +23.6%), Delhi (up +11.2%) and Chennai (up +10.8%). International freight traffic also grew strongly, rising +11.7% to 920,150 tonnes. The biggest gains were recorded at Tiruchi (+130%), Coimbatore (+102%), Bangalore (+27.3%) and Hyderabad (+21.7%).
2 737-86N'S (32672, VT-SPG; 32693), (GEF) leased, and (32693) leased to Transavia (TAV) as (PH-TVR).
August 2006: SpiceJet (ROJ) announced an operating profit of +INR715.2 million/+$15.4 million for the fiscal year ended May 31 on a higher-than-expected INR4.53 billion in revenue.
(ROJ) said it carried more than >1.6 million passengers aboard six airplanes during its fiscal year at an 86% LF load factor. (ROJ) expects revenues to double to INR9.1 billion in the current Fiscal Year (FY) as it adds five 737-800s, part of its previous order by January. Three airplanes will be delivered in October, when (ROJ) will launch five new routes.
"Costs, other than fuel, are expected to decline," (ROJ) said, and it expects to raise its market share from 7.8% to more than >10%. The new routes are Delhi - Varanasi, Ahmedabad - Goa via Mumbai, Ahmedabad - Chennai, Kolkata - Guwahati and Hyderabad - Bangalore.
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) market share in India is expected to reach 70% by 2010, as full-service airlines lose -1.5 points every month. "We do not expect this rate to slow in the short term, given the profile of current fleet orders. (LCC)s could therefore control over 35% of the domestic market by the end of 2006, and pass 50% some time in [the second half of 2007]," (CAPA) CEO, Indian Subcontinent & Middle East, Kapil Kaul said, adding that 60 million passengers are expected to fly on Indian carriers in 2010.
By year end 2008, (ROJ) expects to add +23 airplanes and operate 250 flights to 24 destinations each day.
$700 exercises options for 5 737-800's & 5 737-900ER's. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2007. (ROJ) will sell 16 of the 20 new 737s to Nomura Babcock & Brown (NBB) investment bank for $1.1 billion and lease them back. It struck a similar deal with (NBB) for the other four airplanes earlier this year.
October 2006: SpiceJet (ROJ) is taking delivery of a new 737-800. As a result, the airline will add 3 daily nonstop roundtrip flights with 1 each on the routes from Delhi to Hyderabad, Delhi to Bangalore and Bangalore to Hyderabad.
737-8GJ (34897, VT-SPJ), delivery.
November 2006: The "Federation of Indian Airlines" is the name of the new industry body created by scheduled passenger carriers in India, according to press reports. Initial members are Air Deccan (DCC), Air-India (AIN), Air Sahara (SAQ), GoAir (GOZ), Indian Airlines (IND), IndiGo (IGO), Jet Airways (JPL), Kingfisher Airlines (KFH), Paramount Airways (PAT), and SpiceJet (ROJ). The group will cooperate in areas such as human resources, maintenance and ground handling, as well as lobbying issues.
737-8GJ (34898, VT-SPK), delivery.
December 2006: SpiceJet (ROJ) is inaugurating service from Ahmedabad to Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune this month. Routes to Jammu and Kolkata are planned to be added in March 2007. This month's new services to Hyderabad and Jaipur will be operated on a daily basis with Pune receiving 3 flights a week, all operated with 737-800s.
737-8GJ (34899, VT-SPL), delivery.
January 2007: 737-8GJ (34900, VT-SPM), delivery.
February 2007: Spicejet (ROJ) has 10 737-800s flying 60 daily flights to 14 domestic destinations. (ROJ) achieved a market share of 7.1%. (ROJ) offers every-day "Spicy Fares" and has the highest load factor of all Indian airlines at 77.3% LF. It also has an excellent flight dispatch record of 99.5% and an on-time record better than 90%.
The Indian government is getting tough on English standards following a series of recent near mishaps, sending home at least 20 foreign pilots (FC) (mainly from Asia and central Europe) because of their poor command of the language. Indian Director General of Civil Aviation, Kanu Gohain told reporters that "the pilots (FC) posed a safety risk."
March 2007: SpiceJet (ROJ) launched daily Bangalore - Hyderabad - Kolkata and daily Bangalore - Mumbai flights aboard 737-800s.
April 2007: Spicejet (ROJ) launched daily Hyderabad - Ahmedabad - Jaipur service.
(ROJ) announced the appointment of former Whirlpool of India Director Finance/Commercial, Partha Sarathi Basu as CFO.
(ROJ) converted options for 10 737-800s/-900s into firm orders for delivery in 2009 to 2011, according to a company statement cited by press reports from India.
May 2007: The Indian government made seat assignments compulsory for all domestic airlines. The Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation said it was imposing the regulation "in order to ensure correct loading of airplanes and keeping the center of gravity of the airplane within limits at all times during flight."
(SITA) said it is working with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to deploy an additional 17 (VHF) ground stations at the nation's airports, enabling Indian airlines and (AAI) to exchange real-time data with airplanes and allowing "increased safety and efficiency of operations." This will bring (SITA)'s Aircom network in India to 23 stations.
737-8GJ (34901, VT-), delivery and leased to Transavia France (TVF).
June 2007: 737-8GJ (34902, VT-), BBAM (BBB) leased and wet-leased to TransAvia France (TVF).
July 2007: 737-86N (35216, VT-SPO), (GEF) leased and 737-8GJ (2335-34903, VT-SPQ), delivery.
August 2007: SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a +INR185.4 million/+$4.5 million profit in the quarter ended June 30, reversed from a pro forma -INR36.8 million loss in the year-ago period. (ROJ) reconfigured its fiscal calendar to a year ending March 31 from a year ending May 30. The year-ago figures presented with the most recent results were not audited or reviewed, it said. Revenue soared +77.4% to INR3.11 billion, while expenses climbed +66.6% to INR2.9 billion. Pre-tax result swung to a +INR188.7 million profit from a +INR34.2 million loss.
(ROJ) plans to launch short-haul international services next year, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) reported. The carrier said that the flights are subject to the relaxation of a government restriction that prohibits airlines from flying internationally in their first five years of operation. A (ROJ) official told (CAPA) the carrier expects that time frame to change to three years. It plans to raise up to $80 million to help finance the acquisition of 10 new airplanes for delivery beginning in 2009, (CAPA) said. (ROJ) currently flies 14 737-800s to 14 domestic destinations. It reported a -$17.3 million loss for the fiscal year ended March 31.
737-8GJ (34904, VT-SPR), delivery and 737-86N (35217, VT-SPP), (GEF) leased.
September 2007: 737-8GJ (34905, VT-SPS), delivery.
November 2007: SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a -INR377.7 million/-$9.6 million loss in its fiscal second quarter ended September 30, widened from a -INR319.1 million pro forma deficit in the year-ago period. The carrier changed its financial year to April l to March from June to May, meaning it did not report official results for the July to September 2006 period. Second-quarter revenue rose +64.6% to INR2.7 billion, and pre-tax loss widened to -INR374.7 million from -INR310.8 million. Its six-month loss of -INR192.3 million was an improvement from a -INR355.9 million loss in the semester ended September 30, 2006.
(ROJ) operates more than >86 daily flights to 14 destinations.
1st 737-9GJER (34952, VT-SPT), delivery.
January 2008: The Indian government relaxed certain industrial foreign investment rules and now will allow foreign investors to hold 100% of Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and training organizations, dedicated to civil aviation activities. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in commercial airlines will continue to be capped at 49%, with nonresident Indians allowed to hold 100%, as long as no foreign airlines are participating. (FDI) in ground handling enterprises will be capped at 74%.
737-8FZ (34954), sold to (BBAM) (BBB).
March 2008: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad near Hyderabad commenced commercial operations over the weekend. The facility, developed by the GMR Infrastructure-Hyderabad International Airport consortium, is India's first airport built under a private-public partnership model. Capacity is 12 million passengers annually, and it is the nation's first airport capable of handling an A380.
May 2008: 737-9GJER (34596, VT-SGB "Oregano"), delivery.
July 2008: The SpiceJet (ROJ) board announced that asset management firm WL Ross & Co will invest approximately $80 million in the New Delhi-based (ROJ) as Kingfisher (KFH)'s efforts to acquire the carrier were rebuffed. "We have no doubt that (ROJ) will fulfill its promise of emerging as India's leading airline," the board said in a statement, while Wilbur Ross Jr said his firm "believe[s] in the long-term validity of the low-cost airline model in India, and that fuel prices eventually will stabilize." Ross and WL Ross India Managing Director & CEO, Ranjeet Nabha will join the (ROJ) board. The airline operates 94 daily flights with 15 airplanes and holds a 10% domestic market share.
Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) Chairman, Vijay Vallya told journalists at the Farnborough Air Show that he had made an offer for (ROJ), but was rejected. "I like to do good deals and I won't do expensive deals," he said, according to "Reuters."
August 2008: SpiceJet (ROJ) secured approximately $100 million in funding from private USA investor Wilbur Ross & Company and Dubai-based, Istithmar World Capital. (ROJ) announced last month that it preferred Ross as a partner rather than Kingfisher Airlines (KFH). Istithmar's participation boosted the capital injection from the originally announced $80 million. Ross Chairman, Wilbur Ross Jr said the financing "is intended to give (ROJ) the staying power to get through the industry consolidation, that is underway," and that he was encouraged by the Indian government's decision to appoint a committee "to recommend measures to stabilize the industry."
After a busy round of consolidation, India’s airline industry seems
to be stabilizing around three airline groupings with international ambitions: Jet Airways (JPL), (KFH), and Air-India (AIN), and three Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s: Indigo (IGO), (ROJ), and GoAir (GOZ). Regional carrier Paramount (PAT) also seems to have big ambitions.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport, developer and operator of the new Rajiv Gandhi International, said it received clearance from the Ministry of Aviation to levy a INR375/$8.66 user development fee on outbound domestic passengers.
The Indian government announced official approval for significant modernization and expansion projects at Kolkata (CCU) and Chennai airports that will bring the facilities to "international standard" and cost a combined $900 million. The 30-month project at (CCU) will cost an estimated INR19.43 billion/$452.4 million and expand annual handling capacity by 20 million passengers. The second runway will be extended to 3,293 m and made suitable for "large commercial airplanes," navigation facilities will be upgraded, airplane parking and additional taxiways will be added, and road and rail connections to the airport will be improved. The work first was proposed in April 2007. (CCU) handled 7.5 million passengers in the 2007 to 2008 fiscal year and is expected to process 24.7 million in 2015 through 2016.
At Chennai, INR18.1 billion will be spent on a similar 26-month project designed to increase capacity by +14 million passengers per year. In the recently completed fiscal year it processed 10.7 million passengers. The second runway will be extended and a new taxiway constructed, among other improvements, including a new domestic terminal building capable of handling 10 million passengers per year.
737-8GJ (34959), delivered and sold to Babcock & Brown (BBB), who leased it to Turkish Airlines (THY).
September 2008: SpiceJet (ROJ)'s second quarter (Q2) financial results = net loss of -$31 million and an operating loss of -$29 million.
(IATA) (ITA) Director General & CEO, Giovanni Bisignani said that India's airlines could collectively lose as much as -$1.5 billion in 2008, and called on the nation to take "urgent action . . . to help Indian carriers weather the perfect storm of high costs and falling demand." Speaking in New Delhi to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Bisignani noted that commercial air traffic growth in India has slowed dramatically this year, rising +7.5% in the first six months of 2008 compared to growth of +33% for full-year 2007. He said the country needs to lower the cost for airlines to operate, improve its aviation infrastructure, and adopt global standards. "India is among the most expensive places on the planet to buy aviation turbine fuel," he said. "In August, it was +58% more expensive to buy fuel in Mumbai for domestic flights than in Singapore for international [flights]. Excise duties, throughput fees charged by airport operators, and state taxes of up to 30% for domestic flights, result in a cost structure that cannot support a competitive industry." He added that taxes on overflight charges, premium class tickets and airport charges are "embarrassments" that must be eliminated. Bisignani further called for "infrastructure investments," particularly in Mumbai, which he said "needs an airport that can adequately serve the financial capital of the world's second most populous nation. That means thinking much, much bigger."
Finally, he said that "global standards . . . should be at the heart of India's aviation policy," explaining that "nonstandard data transmission requirements [imposed by the Indian government] for Advance Passenger Information is an added cost burden . . . [and] a serious flaw." He added, "Aviation is a fast-changing industry that is fueling much of the Indian economic success story. But . . . India's decision-making is too slow. [The government needs to make] quick decisions based on global standards and build a solid platform for future expansion."
737-8GJ (34955, VT-SGA), delivered and returned to lessor.
October 2008: SpiceJet (ROJ) named former Flight Options COO and Chief Strategy Officer, Sanjay Aggarwal as CEO, effective immediately. Flight Options is a private aviation provider based in Cleveland. Aggarwal previously was Manager Financial Planning at US Airways (AMW)/(USA).
The European Union (EU) and India signed a horizontal aviation agreement, that brings the 26 bilateral agreements India has with individual (EU) members into conformity with Community law. With nearly 5.7 million passenger traveling between the (EU) and India last year, India ranked 11th in passenger traffic between the (EU) and non-(EU) countries. Over the past three years, (EU)-India passenger traffic has increased +75%.
(ROJ) operates 15 737NGs to 16 Indian destinations.
November 2008: 3rd quarter July - September resulted in a -$42 million net loss, and a -55% operating margin. However, fuel prices are dropping, domestic capacity is down, and SpiceJet (ROJ) is relatively well positioned from a cost perspective.
The Indian parliament passed legislation establishing the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA). The (AERA) is designed to encourage investment, regulate charges and foster competition among Indian airports. But (IATA) (ITA) said more is needed, with Director General & CEO, Giovanni Bisignani claiming that "many" of (ICAO)'s principles of "transparency, nondiscrimination and user-consultation . . . are being ignored back in Delhi." He said India's air navigation service provider over-collects by +20% and that a 33% price differential for international landings "has no cost justification." He called on the Indian government to address current taxes on premium tickets, air navigation charges, landing and parking fees, and overflight charges, claiming they are "crippling the industry." The government did offer airlines some relief on fuel debt last month.
December 2008: 2 737-8GJs (34960; 37360), at delivery sold to Babcock & Brown (BBB) Leasing, (34960) leased to Somon Air as (EY-777); (37360) leased to Tarom (TRM) as (YR-BGS). 737-9GJER (34961, VT-SGD), delivery
January 2009: The Indian government appears to be softening its stance on foreign direct investment in the country's airlines as they contend with large losses and overcapacity. Civil Aviation Minister, Prafel Patel told reporters this week that "there is a more reasonable case now than there was 3 to 4 years ago" to allow foreign carriers to acquire up to 25% of an Indian carrier. Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) has been a strong proponent of investment liberalization. "There is no clarity on the issue. This is one of the proposals which can be considered," Patel was quoted as saying. "Every airline has a problem and we have to look for extraordinary solutions. It is not formalized yet. It is only a thought process. We are not saying we will give it. We just feel the need," he said.
The Indian commercial aviation industry experienced a rough 2008. According to "The Hindu," passenger numbers fell 5% to 40.8 million following growth rates of 32.5% in 2007 and 46.5% in 2006. Jet Airways (JPL) led with 8.8 million, followed by Air-India (AIN) with 6.6 million, (KFH) with 6.3 million, Deccan (DCC) with 5 million, IndiGo (IGO) with 4.7 million, SpiceJet (ROJ) with 4.1 million and Paramount Airways (PAT) with 630,000.
February 2009: A INR187 million charge "to settle a long pending dispute with an erstwhile investor" dragged India's SpiceJet (ROJ) to a -INR180 million/-$3.6 million loss in the third fiscal quarter ended December 31 (year-ago result not provided), but the carrier remains focused on an international future. Excluding the charge, (ROJ) posted a +INR8 million profit. Operating revenue rose +16% year-over-year to INR4.72 billion on a +24% increase in average fare. Unit revenue climbed +11% to INR2.42 and passenger numbers were down -12%.
CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal said, "We are optimistic that we will see an upward trend in passenger demand starting this summer. Fortunately, the fuel prices have stayed low to offset the lower demand." He told reporters that the airline plans to start international operations in May 2010 and is considering launching a regional subsidiary to provide feed. According to press reports from India, (ROJ) is limiting its international ambitions to Asia for now. "We are currently evaluating the potential markets. The plan is to utilize the current fleet, which is capable of taking flight operations for destinations in the Asian continent," Aggarwal told "The Economic Times."
(ROJ) operates 19 737-800/900ERs on 115 daily flights to 18 destinations. It plans to add five airplanes by March 2011.
April 2009: SpiceJet (ROJ) launched daily, Ahmedabad - Bangalore, Pune - Kolkata, and Mumbai - Coimbatore flights. Its summer schedule will comprise 119 daily flights aboard 19 737-800s/-900ERs.
July 2009: SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a -INR78 million/-$1.6 million loss in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, narrowed from a -INR1.24 billion deficit in the year-ago period. (ROJ) did not provide its full-year result. It lost -INR180 million in its fiscal third quarter. Fourth-quarter operating revenue rose +4.4% year-over-year to INR3.99 billion on a +10.3% increase in passenger numbers to 1.4 million. It said "overall aviation demand" in India fell -13%. (ROJ) operates 125 daily flights to 18 destinations aboard 19 737-800/900ERs.
(ROJ) reported a +INR263 million/+$5.4 million profit in its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, reversed from a -INR1.29 billion loss in the year-ago period. It said operating revenue rose +15% year-over-year on a +21% jump in passenger numbers. Unit cost fell -24% as (ASK)s climbed +12%. Load factor rose +6 points to 76% LF. "We had a great quarter given the challenges the industry continues to face. We saw an increased acceptance of our service by the consumers. This helped in absorbing the additional +10% capacity that we deployed over last year," CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal said. "We expect the yields to remain under pressure during the quarter July to September, which are traditionally weak months for travel."
October 2009: SpiceJet (ROJ), CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal speaking with the "Business Standard" stated that India’s domestic airfares were up
+25% in the past month with little impact on demand. But for most of this year, fares have been running -30% to -40% lower than year-ago
(ROJ) says it looks forward to flying internationally next year, not least because it can purchase cheaper fuel abroad.
"Dow Jones" reports Jet Airways (JPL) is discussing Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and a ground handling alliance with SpiceJet (ROJ).
November 2009: Indian airlines carried 4 million passengers in October, up +26.7% from the year-ago month. Passenger traffic through the year's first 10 months, rose +3.3% year-over-year to 36 million. Market share was divided as follows: Jet Airways (JPL) and JetLite (SAQ) 27.7%, Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) 20.7%, Air India (AIN)/(IND) 18.6%, IndiGo (IGO) 13.6%, and SpiceJet (ROJ) 12.4%.
SpiceJet (ROJ) lost -INR1.01 billion/-$21.5 million in its fiscal second quarter ended September 30, a +49% improvement from the -INR1.98 billion lost in the year-ago period. Operating revenue rose +31% as passenger numbers soared +98%. Capacity measured in (ASK)s climbed +44%, load factor was up +19 points and unit cost fell -26% year-over-year. "Traditionally, this is the weakest quarter for the industry," CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal said. "However, we continue to improve our load factor and today, one out of every eight flyers chooses (ROJ). (ROJ) also carries most passengers per departure than any other full-service or low-fare carrier in India. The yield began firming up during the third fiscal quarter and demand remains robust. We expect this trend to continue through the next quarter." (ROJ) said passenger numbers across India rose +25% in the quarter on a capacity lift of just +5%.
(ROJ) operates 19 737-800/-900ERs on 129 daily flights to 18 domestic destinations. The (ROJ) winter schedule features the following new routes: Weekly flights from Delhi (DEL) to Kochi, Srinagar, Chennai, and Ahmedabad; daily, Bangalore - Goa; six-times-weekly, Mumbai - Goa; weekly, Bangalore - Jaipur, and Srinagar - Jammu.
"Bloomberg News" said (ROJ) is evaluating international markets including Bangladesh, Maldives; Nepal; and Sri Lanka.
December 2009: Topping the list of money losing airlines were India's three reporting carriers: Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) results were disastrous, while those at Jet Airways (JPL) and SpiceJet (ROJ) weren't all that much better. An over-supplied domestic market and declining demand proved a toxic combination.
SpiceJet (ROJ) launched cargo operations in Kochi, the 14th city in its freight network. (ROJ) said it carries around 120 tons of freight per day aboard its 19 737NGs.
India is making a considerable effort to join commercial aviation's environmental effort, Civil Aviation Director General, Nasim Zaidi said at the USA-India Aviation Partnership Summit in Washington, with authorities committed to establishing a national inventory of carbon dioxide emissions for the sector (with a base year of 2005) along with programs compelling both airlines and airports to be more efficient and green. "As a developing economy we have a concern of maintaining a balance between the sustainability of a growing economy and the adverse impact this growth can have on climate change," Zaidi said, adding that the Indian government has committed to a nationwide -20% to -25% cut in emissions by 2025. "The objective is to provide enough space to the airlines to grow without adversely affecting the environment."
An Aviation Environment Unit reporting to the (DGCA) will identify problem areas, provide technical guidance and suggest solutions covering both environmental issues and noise to industry stakeholders, he said. Carriers, meantime, have been asked to create similar units within their own companies. "Our fuel efficiency is not in line with the global average" of 0.4 liters per (RTK), he admitted. India currently is operating at 0.54 liters per (RTK), with Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) above 0.6 and Jet Airways (JPL) around 0.5, Zaidi said. "We have work to do in this area." India's (RTK) production ranks 12th in the world, considering the European Union (EU) as a single state.
Airlines have been instructed to adhere to proper maintenance procedures, minimize Auxilliary Power Unit (APU) usage, use Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and continuous descent and consider one-engine taxiing, among other initiatives. (PBN) has been implemented at Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad and is in progress at Chenai. On the ground, airlines and airports are being asked to monitor waste and look into using solar panels for lighting, constructing plants to recycle waste water or to generate electricity from waste and using compressed natural gas for ground vehicles. Zaidi also said that India has "expressed our willingness" to join the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.
January 2010: Indian airlines carried 44.5 million passengers in 2009, up +7.9% from the prior year, the Ministry of Civil Aviation reported. Fourth-quarter traffic soared +30.5% year-over-year to 12.5 million passengers and December traffic rose +34.8% to 4.5 million.
Jet Airways (JPL) (17.9%) and JetLite (SAQ) (7.5%) led all companies in full-year market share with a combined 25.4%, followed by Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) at 23.9% and Air India (AIN) with 17.5%. IndiGo (IGO) (13.9%) and Spicejet (ROJ) (12.4%) rounded out the top five. Indian carriers cut capacity during the first half of 2009 but registered year-over-year increases in both (RPK)s traffic and (ASK)s capacity in each of the year's last six months.
December (RPK)s rose nearly +40% over the year-ago month, with average load factor surpassing 80% LF owing to the peak season. IndiGo (IGO) posted a 90% LF load factor for the month, with Jet (JPL) posting the lowest figure at 78.2% LF.
India's airlines transported 43.8 million passengers on domestic routes in 2009. Kingfisher (KFH) led the way with a 23.9% share equal to 10.5 million passengers, followed by (JPL) at 17.9% and (AIN)/(IND) at 17.5%.
(MAS) Aerospace & Engineering signed a three-year deal with SpiceJet (ROJ) covering "C" and "D" airplane maintenance checks on (ROJ)'s 19 current and 12 incoming 737NGs. (MAS) will service the airplanes at its Hyderabad facility, a joint venture with (GMR) Aerospace Engineering, when it enters operation in the 2011 first quarter.
February 2010: SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a company record +INR1.09 billion/+$23.5 million profit in its fiscal third quarter ended December 31, reversed from a -INR179.6 million deficit in the year-ago period that resulted largely from a INR187.8 million charge related to a dispute with an investor.
Revenue rose +23.7% year-over-year to INR6.53 billion and a -8.5% fall in fuel costs provided an extra boost to the bottom line. Unit costs were cut -22%. Passenger numbers soared +55% on a +28% increase in available seats, lifting load factor +14 points. (ROJ) said its passenger growth compared to a +31% rise across the Indian airline industry. (ROJ) flies 19 737-800s/-900ERs.
"Consumers have displayed their confidence in our brand, product and service mix," CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal said. Its market share rose +2 points year-over-year to 12.5%. "This has been possible due to better airplane utilization. (ROJ) has consistently carried more passengers per departure than any of our competitors during this period," (ROJ) said.
Through the first nine months of its fiscal year, it was +INR340 million in the black, reversed from a -INR3.45 billion deficit in the year-ago period. "If all assumptions of fuel, demand, yield and currency remain constant, (ROJ) will be able to post favorable annual results," Aggarwal said. He told the "Press Trust of India" that the airline intends to launch international flights once it has completed the mandatory five years of domestic service at the end of May.
Dubai World (DW) subsidiary, Istithmar sold its 13.4% stake in (ROJ) for INR1.69 billion to a combination of domestic and foreign investors, according to multiple reports. (DW) still owns foreign currency convertible bonds worth INR560 million.
March 2010: 737-8GJ (36367, VT-SGF) delivery.
June 2010: Indian media baron, Kalanithi Maran is acquiring 37.73% of SpiceJet (ROJ), with an open offer for another 20%, a deal that could breathe new life into the company. One of Maran’s companies, Kal Airways, will acquire the SpiceJet (ROJ) shares held by Royal Holdings Services Ltd and Wilbur Ross. “We simply feel that the management we installed has turned the company around and therefore it
is ready for the next phase of ownership and expansion,” Ross told the "Financial Times."
(ROJ) has a fleet of 20 737s and expects one more to be delivered this year and three in 2011. (ROJ) recently acquired the rights to fly to neighboring international destinations.
“A robust expansion of (ROJ) is expected with a request for information for around 40 airplanes in the offing for its 10 to 15-year plan,” says Kapil Kaul, Indian subcontinent head of think tank Center for Asia Pacific Aviation. A stable financial owner, leading to a (ROJ) with reduced or no debt, will open the way to expansion, Kaul explains. (ROJ) is likely to focus on lower- and mid-management replacement. “It is now a question of getting the
team together,” adds Kaul.
WL Ross & Company LLC, a global private equity investor, in
mid-2008 announced that (ROJ) had accepted an offer in principle that would make about $80 million available to (ROJ). “We believe in the long-term validity of the low-cost carrier (LCC) model in India and that fuel prices eventually will stabilize,” Ross said.
July 2010: FlyDubai (FDB) CFO, Neil Mills will leave the Dubai-based budget airline to join Indian Low Cost Carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) as CEO by October. SpiceJet (ROJ) CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal resigned at the beginning of July and board member Kishore Gupta is serving as interim CEO, according to "The Economic Times." (ROJ), which has a 12% share of India's domestic market, is currently going through a change of ownership that is believed to be related to the management moves. In June, Kalanthi Maran, founder of Chennai-based Sun TV Networks, announced he would acquire a 37% stake in the airline for INR7.39 billion/$158 million from current shareholders, the "Times" reported. At the time, (ROJ) was known to be trying to raise at least $75 million through a share issue. Maran subsequently proposed a tender offer to raise his stake to 57.7%, beginning next month.
Aggarwal joined the airline in 2008 from Flight Options, a USA private aviation and fractional ownership provider where he was COO. Prior to joining Flydubai (FDB) last year, Mills was with easyJet (EZY). He has to serve a three-month notice period, according to the "Times." (ROJ) carried 5.7 million passengers and earned +INR614.5 million/+$13.7 million for its fiscal year ended March 31.
737-8GH (36369, VT-SGH "Tumeric"), Babcock (BBB) leased.
September 2010: SpiceJet (ROJ) will start international operations with flights to Kathmandu, Nepal, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, from Delhi and Chennai, October 7 and October 9, respectively, using 189-seat 737-800s. Fares on the routes are about -40% lower than others in the market. “Our goal has been to identify the needs of our passengers and try to fill gaps in connectivity,” says Director, Kishore Gupta. New (ROJ) CEO, Neil Mills will start his job to coincide with the opening of the new destinations.
Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) Chairman & Managing Director, Vijay Mallya announced that former SpiceJet (ROJ) CEO, Sanjay Aggarwal would take over as CEO of (KFH) "with immediate effect."
(ROJ) has 22 737s and 141 daily flights. Six airplanes will be added by the end of March 2011.
October 2010: SpiceJet (ROJ) is eyeing expansion to Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives in the next few months. (ROJ) launched 21 flights from Chennai to Colombo, Sri Lanka, two days after launching New Delhi - Kathmandu, Nepal, service this month. (ROJ) says it intends to build its presence in Sri Lanka after an extremely encouraging initial response, and will also add connections to points in the nine countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
November 2010: SpiceJet (ROJ)’s majority shareholder, Kalanithi Maran, who also is Chairman and promoter of Sun Network, has been elected to (ROJ)'s board as Director and Chairman. Maran currently holds a majority 38.66% stake through his aviation firm, (KAL) Airways, which recently acquired SpiceJet (ROJ).
(ROJ) is now in “fast forward” regarding its expansion plan, which
includes 30 737s and 15 Bombardier regional DHC-8-Q400s recently ordered.
“SpiceJet (ROJ) has been outperforming . . . and is now perfectly poised for a sharp takeoff. I am very optimistic about the growth in the aviation business, which is the basis for the order of 30 new 737-800NG airplanes . . . with deliveries commencing in 2014. This is in addition to our plans to double our current fleet size to 50 airplanes by 2013. I am extremely excited to lead the airline on this growth path,” Maran confirmed. “It is our vision that domestic air-connectivity is incomplete without looking at the Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. (ROJ)’s recent announcement of acquiring DHC-8-Q400 NextGen turboprop airplanes will help us in realizing this vision,” Maran added. “It is clear now that (ROJ) will bear a definite Maran stamp of a new set of thinking and more aggressive game plan. I do not rule out an acquisition,” said Kapil Kaul, Chief of Sydney-based think tank, "Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA)", India and Middle East regions.
SpiceJet (ROJ) was relegated to the second largest budget carrier in India — after IndiGo (IGO) — as it spent the last two years looking for investors while operating with a fragmented business plan. (ROJ) will now make up for the years of inaction, says Kaul. “Execution of a plan is critical given that the carrier is short of management [at all levels]," adds Kaul. An airline official said it is likely that budget airline GoAir (GOZ) with 10 A320s and two more expected to join its fleet soon, would be on SpiceJet (ROJ)'s radar for acquisition.
“Maran might be tempted to name his regional operations company after
his popular [television network Sun Network] in South India,” says an analyst in Chennai. The new regional fleet of DHC-8-Q400s would most likely step into the routes of the recently shut down Paramount Airways (PAT), which successfully ran its all-Embraer fleet on short routes in South India.
SpiceJet (ROJ) has a 13% market share with 153 flights daily to 20 Indian cities. On the international front, it operates flights to Kathmandu and Colombo. Starting November 30, (ROJ) will have a new-generation fleet of 25 737-800s and 737-900ERs.
During USA President, Barack Obama's visit to India, Spicejet (ROJ) firmed a deal for more 737-800s. (ROJ) announced an order for 30 winglet-equipped 737-800NGs. The deal is valued at approximately $2.3 billion at list prices.
SpiceJet (ROJ) CEO, Neil Mills said (ROJ) was “extremely satisfied” with the 737 because it allows for “greater efficiency in maintenance” and “supports the business plan for low-cost carriers (LCC)s” Mills noted, "The aviation sector in India is recovering and business and leisure travel is on the rise. The addition of the new 737s will help us expand (ROJ)'s domestic network as well as support the launch of our international destinations."
December 2010: Bombardier announced that SpiceJet (ROJ) ordered 15 DHC-8-Q400 NextGens and took options on a further 15 - - SEE PHOTO - - "ROJ-DHC-8-Q400-2010-12." Based on list prices, Bombardier valued the firm order at approximately $446 million, rising to approximately $915 million if all 15 options are firmed.
“India is witnessing substantial growth, and predominant growth is expected from cities and industrial towns which remain under-served,” said (ROJ) Chairman, Kalanithi Maran. “As India’s most preferred low-fare airline, we are focused on catering to these markets which require an airplane that could increase the reach to over 60 airports that could not be served by the larger jets and establishing our footprint in these markets."
Bombardier President Commercial Aircraft, Gary Scott said it expects India to take delivery of 600 commercial airplanes in the 20- to 149-seat category over the next 20 years. At this time, when new airports are being commissioned by the Indian government, Bombardier is uniquely positioned to support the development of India’s airline network,” Scott stated.
737-86J (37361, VT-SGI "Bayleaf"), delivery.
January 2011: Spicejet (ROJ) recorded its fifth consecutive quarter of profitability, earning +$21 million net and a robust 14% operating margin in the October-to-December period. The 14% was a bit down from the same quarter in the prior year as revenues rose +28% but operating costs jumped +31%, mostly driven by a huge +50% spike in fuel outlays. Capacity was up +19%, as domestic capacity for the industry rose just +11%. One thing (ROJ) certainly managed to do was fill its planes: Load factor was 88% LF. And it now has a 14% passenger share of India’s turbulent but currently-booming domestic market. But (ROJ) is also flying abroad now as well, having launched Delhi - Kathmandu and Chennai - Colombo flights last quarter. It’s now planning “rapid expansion” in the coming three years, mostly concentrated in the domestic market, where traffic is expected to rise another +14% to +16% this year. (ROJ) flies a mix of 25 737-800s and 737-900ERs and covers 20 Indian cities. It also plans to penetrate smaller domestic markets with DHC-8-Q400s, having ordered up to 30 units late last year.
737-8AS (29925, VT-SGL "Nutmeg"), CIT Group (TCI) leased, ex-(YR-BIA) and 737-8GJ (37365, VT-SGQ), delivery, sold to Babcock (BBB) and leased back, ex-(N1796B).
May 2011: Spicejet (ROJ)'s first quarter results were -$13 million compared to a profit last year. (ROJ) now has 14% of India's domestic market. (ROJ) has positive growth boosting its revenues +32% on +36% capacity (ASK)s. However, operating costs were +52% and fuel cost increase was +85%.
(ROJ) recently started its international routes to Colombo and Kathmandu and plans new destinations in southern Asia and the Middle East.
(ROJ) currently operates 29 airplanes with plans to have 70 by the end of 2013.
(ROJ) launched daily, Nagpur service to Delhi and Bangalore.
June 2011: Domestic Indian traffic data published by their regulatory authority the (DGCA) for January - May showed a +18% increase with market share of: Jet Airways (JPL) 26%; Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) 20%; IndiGo Airlines (IGO) 20%; SpiceJet (ROJ) 14%; Air India (AIN)/(IND) 13%; and GoAir (GOZ) 7%.
July 2011: Spicejet (ROJ) is a low cost carrier (LCC), no frills airline operating domestic jet airplane passenger services linking nearly 20 domestic destinations from New Delhi and 8 regional hubs. International services link Delhi with Kathmandu, and Chennai with Colombo. (ROJ) operates 202 flights daily.
(IATA) Code: SG. (ICAO) Code: SEJ - (Callsign - SPICEJET).
Parent Company: The Sun Group.
Company Slogan: "Get More When You Fly."
Main base: Indiri Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.
Destinations: Agartala; Ahmedabad; Bagdogra; Bangalore; Chennai; Coimbatore; Delhi; Goa; Guwahati; Hyderabad; Jaipur; Jammu; Kochi; Kolkata; Madurai; Mumbai; Nagpur; Pune; Srinagar; Varanasi; and Vizag.
International destinations: Colombo (Sri Lanka); & Kathmandu (Nepal).
August 2011: SpiceJet (ROJ) has taken delivery of the first two of 15 Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 NextGen turboprop airplanes ordered in December 2010.
(ROJ) will use its DHC-8-Q400 for high-frequency, point-to-point services to regional cities, complementing its larger jet airplanes that connect major Indian cities. (ROJ) currently serves 22 destinations in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
“As India experiences substantial growth, many cities and industrial towns remain underserved,” said Kalanithi Maran, Chairman, (ROJ). “(ROJ) is focused on connecting these burgeoning areas with more than 60 airports that could not be served by larger jets."
(ROJ) has also signed a 10-year agreement under Bombardier’s comprehensive SmartParts program that will provide a wide spectrum of cost-per-flight-hour maintenance for (ROJ)’s full fleet of DHC-8-Q400 NextGen airplanes. “The fact that we will be able to proactively budget for traditionally variable expenses and count on optimal repair turnaround times under Bombardier’s SmartParts program is another significant advantage,” said Neil Mills, (CEO), (ROJ).
The DHC-8-Q402's operate 11 new destinations from Hyderabad: Aurangabad; Bhopal; Goa; Indore; Madurai; Mangalore; Nagpur; Pune; Rajahmundry; Tirupati; and Vijayawada.
October 2011: 2 DHC-8-Q400s (4382, VT-SUF; 4387, VT-SUG), ex-(C-GKOI & C-GKVM).
January 2012: Momentum appears to be building toward removing barriers to foreign airlines investing in Indian airlines, potentially opening up a new source of capital for the country's struggling air transport industry.
Currently, non-Indian airlines cannot invest in Indian airlines, though non-airline foreign investors are allowed to own a 49% stake. A recent government-appointed panel recommended that foreign airlines be allowed to buy as much as 49% of Indian carriers, and high-ranking government officials appear open to the proposal.
New Indian Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh told "The Hindu Business Line" that he and the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum will review the panel's recommendation and make a decision shortly on whether to back legislation opening up foreign direct investment by airline companies.
"Airlines today basically require working capital," he said. "They need money. If the foreign companies can invest in these airlines, it is fine."
February 2012: SpiceJet (ROJ) has added Surat (STV) in the Western state of Gujarat to its network with the introduction of daily non-stop flights from 1 February to both Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM). (ROJ) claims that it has thus become the first to start a destination ‘on demand’ as a result of the many requests it has received via its Facebook page. “We have been getting many messages from our fans on our Facebook page to start flight services from Surat. We respect the feeling and attachment of our fans and their trust in SpiceJet (ROJ). In order to fulfil the demands, we conducted the viability of launching flight on Surat - Delhi and Surat - Mumbai route and decided to start the operations,” said (ROJ) (CEO), Neil Mills. The Delhi route is already served by Air India (AIN). The Mumbai route is scheduled for just 45 minutes and the two airports are less than <250 kilometers apart. Both routes have sufficient potential it seems for (ROJ) to serve the market with its 737s rather than its DHC-8-Q400s. Surat’s new terminal was only opened at the end of February 2009.
SR Technics (SWS) has agreed on a 10-year exclusive engine repair and maintenance contract with SpiceJet (ROJ), worth up to $415 million. It will provide maintenance for (ROJ)’s (CFM56-7B) engines on its fleet of 737-800 and 737-900ER airplanes, the first of which are already in the shop.
“This is a very significant contract for the Mubadala Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) network,” Mubadala Aerospace (MRO) Network (CEO), James Stewart told reporters at the signing ceremony at the Singapore Airshow. “It is the largest agreement for us for engine maintenance in the Indian network.”
All work will be carried out at the SR Technics (SWS) facilities in Switzerland. The deal comprises, at a minimum, 60 engines, which covers close to 100 overhauls over a 10-year period.
(ROJ) has a fleet of 32 airplanes, expanding to 33 after a Boeing (TBC) delivery this month; it will take delivery of another three airplanes by June.
“Certainly in this industry there are a lot of unknowns, but having someone as reliable as SR Technics (SWS) will certainly help us going forward,” (ROJ) (CEO), Neil Raymond Mills told reporters. “We’ve grown by an excess of +50% in the last 12 months and will continue to grow.”
737-8GJ (37751), delivery.
March 2012: To overcome its airline industry's serious financial difficulties, India needs a more coherent aviation policy that creates conditions under which carriers can be more successful, according to (IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler.
Speaking in Hyderabad at the India Aviation 2012 conference, Tyler mapped out India's civil aviation potential. "Let's do some simple math," he said. "If India’s 1.17 billion people traveled at the same frequency as do Americans, a market of 2.1 billion travelers would be created. But even if they only traveled one-third as much, India would have an air travel market of about 700 million - - rivaling that of the USA.
"There is no doubt that India is a market with big potential and that aviation could be a much more significant contributor to the Indian economy. But there are no guarantees that this will occur without well-coordinated policy measures."
He pointed to the "major hurdles" facing Indian carriers. "Air India (AIN)/(IND) (the national carrier) is being sustained on life support of state aid," Tyler said. "The difficulties at Kingfisher (KFH) are well known. And the sector as a whole is not generating the sustainable profits that one would expect from such a large high-growth market."
The Indian government could improve the country's airlines' prospects through several initiatives, he told the conference. For starters, taxes on airlines are too high, he asserted. "All [airplane] fuel [in India] is subject to an 8.24% excise duty," Tyler said. "Then domestic flights face state fuel taxes of up to 30%. The result is destroying the competitiveness of Indian airlines."
Second, he said, airport infrastructure needs to be modernized where necessary. "Where we see value and a clear return on investment, airlines are willing partners in developing infrastructure capabilities," he added. Third, airport charges should be lowered, he said.
Finally, Tyler pushed for India to end its restriction on investment in Indian carriers by foreign airlines. But he warned that "allowing foreign airlines to invest in Indian aviation is not a panacea [because under the current regulatory environment] the odds are stacked against any investor making a positive return on investment in the Indian aviation sector."
May 2012: SpiceJet (ROJ) now flies to Calicut from Hyderabad and Trivandrum.
June 2012: Spicejet (ROJ) launches its first longer international services on June 25 when it launches daily, 737-800 services from both Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) and Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM) to Dubai International (DXB) airport. It had so far only served Colombo Bandaranaike International (CMB) and Kathmandu Tribhuvan International (KTM) internationally.
Airlines in India have agreed to lower fares -5% to -20% after a reprimand by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which called the average airfare “phenomenal.” The (DGCA) action was in response to a steady rise in air fares on domestic routes since the end of 2011.
According to (DGCA) Chief, E K Bharat Bhushan, who met with airline (CEO)s in Delhi, the (DGCA) has been under pressure to intervene on behalf of passengers. “The increase in average airfare offered by the airlines is phenomenal, though aviation turbine fuel prices have gone up only by +16% in the last one year,” the (DGCA) said.
Airlines have been advised to upload their revised tariff on their websites as soon as possible. The fare reductions will be on the highest fare categories, which are tickets typically sold very close to the date of departure. Most carriers typically sell more than half their inventory in advance.
Indian carriers have been able to command higher fares mainly because seat capacity in the market has come down after the struggling Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) substantially reduced its international flights. (KFH)’s fleet is down to 14 airplanes from 88 at its peak.
The Indian government requires airlines to periodically submit fare charts to the (DGCA), which the airlines are free to discount. Most have been charging a premium because demand has exceeded supply recently.
August 2012: After five consecutive quarters of losses, India’s second largest low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) posted a profit of +INR561.2 million/+$10.2 million for the first quarter ended June 30, compared to a loss of -INR719.6 million in the year-ago period. Revenue surged +51% to INR14 billion in the period. India’s financial year runs from April 1 to March 31.
The turnaround in (ROJ)’s performance was mainly due to higher fares. Indian carriers can charge about +30% more for tickets compared to last year after loss-making Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) cut capacity substantially in its struggle to stay afloat.
(ROG) (CEO), Neil Mills warned of tough market conditions: “While we expand our footprint in domestic as well as international sectors, the excessive taxation on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) in India and the weakening of the rupee against the dollar are matters of serious concern. The sharp increase in airport charges and other pass-through levies in various forms increase the cost of air travel to our passengers without bringing any additional revenue to the airline. The need of the hour is for the government of India to intervene proactively and launch initiatives urgently to improve the health of Indian civil aviation.”
Passenger traffic rose +26% in the quarter and average revenue per passenger jumped +24%, Mills said. The results have beaten analysts’ expectations.
Airlines in India collectively lost about -$2 billion in 2011 mainly because of high fuel costs and poor margins arising from overcapacity. The improved yields are expected to help the financial position of all Indian carriers; airline stock prices have begun to rise in anticipation of better performance.
SpiceJet (ROJ) has expanded its domestic network out of Bangalore (BLR) in the southwest of the country, launching two new routes on 2 August. (ROJ) now operates daily to Ahmedabad (AMD) in the west of the country and Kochi (COK), merely 390 kilometres from Bangalore. Both routes are operated with (ROJ)’s 737-800s. On the route to Ahmedabad, (ROJ) faces competition from IndiGo (IGO)’s twice-daily and JetLite (SAQ)’s also daily operations, while the Kochi route is operated in competition with Jet Airways (JPL)’s 14, Air India (AIN)/(IND)/(ABX)’s seven and IndiGo (IGO)’s six flights a week.
SpiceJet (ROJ) further expanded its international network on 14 August when (ROJ) launched three weekly flights between the capitals of India and Afghanistan; Delhi (DEL) and Kabul (KBL). Kabul becomes (ROJ)’s fourth international destination after Kathmandu, Colombo and Dubai. The flights, which are operated with 189-seat 737-800 airplanes, mark the first low-cost service between the two capitals, although four other airlines operate the route; Kam Air (KMF) daily, Ariana Afghan Airlines (AFG) six times weekly, and Safi Airways (SFI) and Air India (AIN) each four times a week.
Nasair (NAZ) has wet-leased two 737-800s (32693, VT-SGE and 33699, VT-SGS) from Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) Spicejet (ROJ) for the upcoming Hajj season.
September 2012: Spicejet (ROJ) launched its second route to Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo (CMB) on 20 September. (ROJ) now flies daily from Madurai (IXM) in southern India, merely 350 kilometers away, using its 78-seat DHC-8-Q400 airplanes. Colombo was (ROJ)’s first international destination in September 2010 and the new route is now (ROJ)’s sixth international service. The only other destination outside of India to be served with more than one (ROJ) route is Dubai, which (ROJ) serves from both Delhi and Mumbai.
India has decided to allow foreign airlines to buy stakes of up to 49% in local carriers, a long-awaited policy move that could provide a lifeline to the country's debt-laden airlines by opening up a fresh source of funding.
The move, which comes with conditions, is a part of massive big-ticket reforms announced by India, including opening up its supermarket sector to foreign firms, as it seeks to revive economic growth and avoid a ratings downgrade.
Newly affluent Indians, with increasing disposable incomes, have started treating flying as a mode of transport rather than a luxury, providing a massive local market.
"It sends a clear message to the sector which was under financial stress - now even the banks would look at them favorably," Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh said. The relaxed rules do come with some riders, said Singh.
Interested companies will have to get clearances from Foreign Investments Promotions Board and the Ministry, and three quarters of their directors have to be Indians. "They will have to follow all the rules like plane acquisition, and route disbursal laid down by the Ministry," Singh added.
The 49% limit includes both foreign direct investment and foreign institutional investment, according to a government document seen by "Reuters."
Budget carrier SpiceJet (ROJ), the fourth-largest of India's six main airlines, said it was in initial talks with several Gulf carriers and was waiting for the government to ease rules before it takes a final call.
With global airlines buffeted by the European debt crisis and high fuel costs, cash-rich and fast-growing Gulf carriers such as Dubai's Emirates (EAD), Qatar Airways (QTA) and Abu Dhabi's Etihad (EHD) are seen as the most likely buyers of stakes in Indian carriers, analysts say.
The Boeing Company (TBC) raised its forecast for the Indian plane market, saying the South Asian country would need 1,450 new airplanes worth $175 billion by 2031.
October 2012: The government of India plans to set up an Essential Air Services fund to subsidize and develop low-cost airports in smaller cities, encouraging domestic airlines to connect to places with tourist interest, the Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Ajit Singh said. The Ministry of Tourism has identified 19 such sites, mostly in places of tourist and religious interest. Singh said, “We are looking at connecting these places with larger cities as well as facilitating affordable flights to them.”
Air connectivity in sub-continental India is poor beyond the large cities, and tourists often have to travel for hours by road to reach many places. One reason is the absence of small, regional carriers. All six domestic airlines in the country have a pan-India network and mostly operate a fleet of large jets. No niche, regional operator has succeeded in providing a sustainable service.
Also, airport owners are uncomfortable about investing in smaller cities that are unlikely to attract the bread and butter corporate travelers. A government fund, that shares some of the initial investment, will reduce the risk on such investments.
India reported 6.29 million tourists in 2011, a +8.9% growth over 2010. Foreign tourist arrivals in India are only one-tenth of that in China. The government plans to formulate clear guidelines to enhance the utilization of bilateral traffic rights by Indian carriers, Singh said.
Recently, two Indian low cost carriers (LCC)s (IndiGo (IGO) and SpiceJet (ROJ)) have begun expanding their international network by using rights that were underutilized for many years. The government’s National Transport Development Policy Committee estimates that domestic air traffic by scheduled carriers in 2020 - 2021 will reach 159 million passengers compared to 54 million passengers in 2010 - 2011. This suggests a threefold growth in air travel over a decade.
November 2012: SpiceJet (ROJ) will start flying from Kochi to Male in the Maldives, its fifth destination outside India. Unlike some other low cost carriers (LCC)s around the world (easyJet (EZY) and Ryanair (RYR)) (ROJ) does market connecting itineraries, in this case from cities like Ahmedabad (in the prosperous northwestern state of Gujarat), Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Not stopping there, it apparently has Riyadh in Saudi Arabia in mind for international destination No 6. Interestingly, the booking engine on its website lists Delhi - Riyadh as an available market, even though no specific flights appear to be loaded in its distribution (GDS)s yet. It should be noted that domestically, India's airline market is shrinking significantly, with traffic down -12% in September and down -1% in the first nine months of this year. The decline is explained clearly enough by the demise of Kingfisher (KFH), a long pilot (FC) strike at Air India (AIN)/IND) and substantial fare hikes by everyone else. (ROJ)'s other international destinations include Colombo, Dubai, Kabul, and Kathmandu.
(ROJ) has introduced a new product called "SpiceJet Max," which also offers an advance seat assignment, together with priority handling and even a complimentary meal. It can be purchased as an add-on with any air fare.
December 2012: SpiceJet (ROJ) launched its first route to the Maldivian capital of Malé (MLE) on 29 November, and now offers daily services to Kochi (COK) in the Indian state of Kerala on the west coast of the Deccan Peninsula. Harish Kutty, (ROJ)’s (CCO), commented during the launch: “Kochi is an important destination for us and the launch of our first international route from the city confirms it. We want to continue this growth as we add more services, including Dubai, due to launch on 10 December.”
(ROJ) will operate daily services from Kochi to Male and Dubai. A daily service from Ahmedabad to Dubai will also begin on 19 December. Male is the airline's fifth international destination.
(ROJ) will use Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 airplanes on the Kochi-Male route, and 737-800s on the two Dubai routes.
SpiceJet (ROJ) will be the only operator on the Kochi - Male route, but will compete with carriers such as Emirates (EAD) on the Dubai routes.
(ROJ) has announced new international services from Delhi to Guangzhou in China and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Domestically, it started a new Delhi - Udaipur route. Udaipur (UDR) is in Rajasthan in the north-west of the country. Daily flights are now operated between the two cities in competition with Jet Airways (JPL)’s twice-daily and Air India (AIN)/(IND)’s daily departures. The latter only started operating the route in November, following the withdrawal of Kingfisher (KFH) from the market earlier in the year.
January 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) posted a third-quarter net profit of +INR1.02 billion/+$18.97 million in the October - December 2012 period. This compares to a loss of -INR392.6 million year-over-year.
Performance during the quarter was boosted by improved yields. Net sales grew +37% to INR16.03 billion during the period, mainly due to higher fares.
SpiceJet (ROJ) (CEO), Neil Mills said average passenger yields were up +29% compared to the year-ago quarter. He said higher contribution from the airline’s international business helped improve performance.
International flights now account for 7% of SpiceJet (ROJ)’s total revenue. (ROJ), which operates to 42 local and seven foreign cities, is trying to expand its presence overseas. Mills does not expect the high yields to be sustained for too long.
SpiceJet (ROJ) said, “The Indian airline industry continues to bear the brunt of extremely high incidence of taxation. A weighted average tax rate of 24% on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices across various stations is among the highest in the world and constitutes the biggest hurdle for domestic carriers in their quest for long-term profitable growth.”
However, the airlines have been helped by the shutting down of Kingfisher Airlines (KFH), which operated about 400 flights a day until the end of 2011. (KFH) had begun cutting capacity through 2012, and finally suspended flights in October last year.
SpiceJet (ROJ) operates a fleet of 51 airplanes that include a mix of 737-900s, 737-800s and Bombardier DHC-8-Q400s.
(ROJ) inaugurated daily services on two routes to the Middle East. On 19 December, (ROJ) launched daily flights from Ahmedabad (AMD) in the north-western state of Gujarat, to Dubai (DXB), which is now served by (ROJ) from four points across India. Competition on the 737-700-operated route comes from Emirates Airline (EAD)’s 10 and flydubai (FDB)’s twice-weekly frequencies. In addition, on 4 January, (ROJ) expanded its international offering from Delhi (DEL) with the launch of services to Riyadh (RUH) in Saudi Arabia. (ROJ)’s daily A320-operated service faces competition from Saudia (SVA) (6 weekly frequencies), Air India (AIN) (3) and three new routes from Shaheen Air (SHN).
(ROJ) expanded with two new domestic routes. On 15 January, (ROJ) commenced four-weekly operations connecting south-eastern cities of Chennai (MAA) and Tiruchirapally (TRZ). The 300 km route is served with 78-seater, DHC-8-400 and competes with Jet Airways (JPL)’s 13 and Air India Express (ABE)’s seven weekly departures. The same airplane type is also deployed for the previously unserved route from Bangalore (BLR) to Pondicherry (PNY), the latter being a Union territory of India in the south-east of the Deccan Peninsula. This 280 km service was launched on 17 January, and now operates with thrice-weekly frequencies.
(ROJ) launched services on the 150 km route from Bangalore (BLR) to Mysore (MYQ), both located in the Indian state of Karnataka, on 14 January. Thrice-weekly services are offered on this new domestic route and all will be operated with 78-seater, DHC-8-Q400s. (ROJ) is currently the only airline using Mysore, as the airport reopened following a closure of 14 months.
February 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) commenced operations on its 43rd domestic route from the Indian capital on 4 February, and now offers daily flights from Delhi (DEL) to Allahabad (IXD) in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. All services are operated using DHC-8-Q402s.
SpiceJet (ROJ) became the first low-cost carrier (LCC) to offer flights between India and China on 8 February, when it commenced four-weekly flights on the 3,700 km route from Delhi (DEL) to Guangzhou (CAN). Flights from the Indian capital to the southern Chinese trade hub are served using 737-800s in competition with China Southern Airlines (GUN)’s 757-operated, 10-weekly frequencies. Following last month’s launch of flights to Riyadh and Dubai, respectively, from Delhi and Ahmedabad, SpiceJet (ROJ) now operates 11 routes to seven international destinations from six airports across India.
March 2013: Spicejet (ROJ) launched its 3rd international destination with a flight from Mumbai to Dubai.
(ROJ) inaugurated services to its eighth international destination, as it connected Varanasi (VNS) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and Sharjah (SHJ) on 7 March. Thrice-weekly flights to the (UAE) airport are now operated using (ROJ)’s 737-800s. (ROJ) will connect another Indian city, Lucknow, with Sharjah later. In addition, on 11 March, SpiceJet (ROJ) inaugurated flights on the 400 km route from Delhi (DEL) to Lucknow (LKO), on which it now operates four-weekly 737-800 flights in competition with IndiGo (IGO)’s twice-weekly departures.
April 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ), the discount carrier controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran, will add flights to mainland China as trade expands between India and the world’s second-biggest economy, amid intensifying competition at home.
(ROJ), which flies four times a week to Guangzhou in China, plans to fly to three more destinations there this year as it taps business and leisure travelers from both countries, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Neil Mills said in an April 23 telephone interview. State-owned Air India (AIN) is the only other local carrier that offers direct services connecting the combined 2.5 billion people in China’s mainland and India.
You’ve got over a third of the world’s population in two countries that sit side by side, but they are almost not connected by air,” Mills said. “It’s not logical at all. It’s like not having a connection between the USA and Canada.”
SpiceJet (ROJ) is accelerating its overseas push, while preparing to face competition from Asia’s biggest budget carrier, AirAsia (ASW) and Jet Airways (JPL), in which Etihad Airways (EHD) agreed to buy a 24% stake this week. Mills targets to almost triple contribution of overseas flights to sales of 20% of total in the next 18 months as the Chennai-based carrier cuts costs to end losses. The airline, which began operations in 2005, started flying overseas in 2010.
China is India’s second-largest trading partner, with bilateral volume doubling in four years to $75.6 billion in the 12 months ended March 31, 2012, according to data provided by India’s Commerce Ministry. The two neighbors want to reach $100 billion by 2015. Air India (AIN) operates four flights a week between Delhi and Shanghai.
Jet Airways (JPL), India’s biggest publicly traded carrier, suspended flights to Shanghai less than a year after it introduced the route in June 2008.
“It’ll be a pretty smart move” by SpiceJet (ROJ), said Mark Martin, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC that advises airlines on cost optimization and fleet strategy. “China is one segment where traffic will consistently grow and it’s one of India’s biggest trading partners. This will pay off in times to come.”
While trade ties are deepening between the two countries, tourism has yet to take off, limiting SpiceJet (ROJ)’s ability to fill seats on its planes, said Mahantesh Sabarad, an analyst with Fortune Equity Brokers India Ltd in Mumbai.
In 2011, about 142,000 Chinese people visited India, or 2.25% of the total arrivals behind Japanese, Canadians and Malaysians, according to data provided by India’s Ministry of Tourism. Last year, 610,200 Indians visited China, fewer than those from Thailand or Indonesia, according to data posted on China National Tourist Administration’s website. “China is a relatively new market and there isn’t much tourism from India either, so it makes more sense to fly to a hub such as Hong Kong and then use code shares from there,” Sabarad said. “Flights to China don’t have adequate seats getting filled, so it remains to be seen whether these routes will be profitable.”
China and India, both nuclear-armed neighbors, have laid claims to territory held by the other and went to war in 1962 over a boundary dispute. Border disputes have prevented warm relations between the two. India accuses China of occupying 38,000 square km of territory in Jammu and Kashmir to the west, while Beijing says 90,000 square km of land in Arunachal Pradesh in India’s northeast belongs to China.
SpiceJet (ROJ) plans to add seven 737 airplanes to its fleet of 52 airplanes that include 15 Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 turboprop planes, Mills had said last month.
Maran, who bought majority control in SpiceJet (ROJ) in 2010, has more than >$2 billion worth of shares through his direct 77% stake in Sun TV Network Ltd and 16.3% of SpiceJet (ROJ), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Adding international services will allow Indian carriers to earn revenue in dollars, the currency of invoice for airplanes and spares, Martin Consulting’s Martin said. As much as 70% of an airline’s costs, including jet fuel and airplane prices, are denominated in dollars. The Indian rupee has declined about -3% against the dollar in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Flying more overseas routes will also help carriers save on some local jet fuel taxes. Jet fuel, which accounts for about half of a carrier’s expenses, costs as much as +60% more in India, compared with Singapore because of sales tax levied by Indian states, according to government data.
SpiceJet (ROJ) is also considering flying to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which comprises the former Soviet states, and start flights to Thailand, Mills said. It also plans to add more routes to the Middle East. (ROJ) withdrew its application to fly to Abu Dhabi.
The overseas push also comes as (ROJ) strengthens its domestic network by connecting under-served towns. (ROJ) is using the 78-seat DHC-8-Q400s to access more airports with runways too short for jet planes such as 737s. SpiceJet (ROJ)’s efforts come amid intensifying competition at home.
SpiceJet (ROJ) in January said it would cut costs by keeping fewer expatriate pilots (FC) on its payroll and new duty rosters for cabin attendants (CA) that will ensure they return to their home base by the end of the day, eliminating hotel expenses. (ROJ) also said that it would begin importing jet fuel to save on high local taxes.
This month, Etihad Airways (EHD) agreed to buy a 24% stake in Jet Airways (JPL) for 20.6 billion rupees. Last month, AirAsia (ASW) formed a venture with the Mumbai-based Tata Group to set up a local low-fare airline, AirAsia India (ASI). (ASI) aims to start Indian operations in September, with the venture operating out of Chennai.
SpiceJet (ROJ) will probably post a loss of -473.5 million rupees/-$8.7 million in the year ended March 31, narrower than a year earlier, according to the median of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. And they estimate sales to rise +45%, the fastest pace in at least five years, to 57.3 billion rupees.
(ROJ) is enthused by the response it has got with its China connectivity. “The first week of flights were actually full from China with tourists coming to India for the Chinese New Year,” said Mills.
To contact the reporters on the above "APRIL 2013" report: Karthikeyan Sundaram in New Delhi at firstname.lastname@example.org; Siddharth Philip in Mumbai at email@example.com
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May 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) has signed a contract with Turkish (THY) Technic for comprehensive component support on (ROJ)'s 737NG fleet for five years, extendable to 10 years.
June 2013: 737-86N (41260, VT-SZF), Celestial Aviation leased.
July 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) has denied it is signing a deal with Kuwait Airways (KUW) to sell a 25% stake.
737-86N (38041, VT-SCG), (GEF) leased.
August 2013: Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) is reportedly in discussions with Singapore-based Tiger Airways (TGR) for a possible equity stake sale. “SpiceJet (ROJ) and Tiger Airways (TGR) have already held two rounds of talks for a possible equity deal,” Indian newswire "(PTI)" said.
The report comes just weeks after the government gave the go-ahead to Etihad Airways (EHD) to pick up a 24% stake in Jet Airways (JPL). Cash-strapped Indian carriers are now bullish about forging strategic relationships with foreign airlines. Most see it as an opportunity to re-capitalize operations.
SpiceJet (ROJ) officials denied comment on the speculation, although in March, Tiger Airways (TGR)’s commercial director said (TGR) was looking at opportunities for a strategic partnership in India. A code share between the two airlines could be the first step.
SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a -10% fall in its net profits for the April to June 2013 quarter. Profits fell to +Rs 500 million/+$8.3 million compared to the same period last year, even though revenues grew +16% to Rs 17,040 million.
In a statement to the stock exchange, SpiceJet (ROJ) management said, “Fuel cost as a proportion fell to 43% of the total revenue in the current (June) quarter as against 46% in the comparable quarter for the previous year, mainly due to better realizations from our overseas routes that now make up almost 11% of revenues. However, currency depreciation and higher crude prices continue to exert pressure on margins.”
(ROJ) also informed the exchange it had accepted the resignation of (CEO), Neil Mills. Mills had joined the Indian carrier from flydubai (FDB) in 2010.
SpiceJet (ROJ) is India’s second largest (LCC), with primarily domestic operations. It has a small international footprint, with operations to six cities in South Asia and the Middle East. It is backed by south Indian media baron, Kalanithi Maran, and operates a fleet of 52 airplanes (737s and Bombardier DHC-8-Q400s.
September 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) became the first carrier to link Ahmedabad (AMD) and the Omani capital of Muscat (MCT) on August 29th. (ROJ) will operate the 1,469 km city pair thrice-weekly (Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from Ahmedabad, and Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Muscat) with its 737-800s. The Muscat route joins Dubai (served daily from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Cochin and Delhi), Sharjah (Lucknow, thrice-weekly; Varanasi, four times weekly) and Riyadh (daily from Delhi) in terms of (ROJ)’s growing Middle East network of services.
October 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) has launched its third route to Sharjah (SHJ) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Four times weekly flights from Pune (PNQ), operated by 737-800s, will complement (ROJ)’s existing services from Lucknow and Varanasi. Flights arrive into and depart from Sharjah in the middle of the night. This is only Pune Airport’s second international service, following in the footsteps of Air India Express (AXB)’s thrice-weekly flights to Dubai. In 2012, Sharjah International Airport handled just over >7.5 million passengers, making it the third busiest airport in the (UAE) after Dubai (57.7 million), and Abu Dhabi (14.7 million).
(ROJ) commenced operations to Bangkok on October 27th, as it launched four weekly services from both Bangalore (BLR) and Pune (PNQ) to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK). Bangkok, (ROJ)’s 10th international destination will be served using 737-800s. (ROJ) faces competition from Thai Airways (TII) on the 2,500 km route from Bangalore, which (TII) operates with daily frequencies. Commenting on the new service was (ROJ)’s Senior VP Ground Services, Kamal Hingorani: “We already operate to 10 international stations and are exploring a few more as we go along. We have already announced the Madurai to Dubai service, which starts next month on November 22nd. We are also looking at connecting Kuala Lumpur to a few cities in the country.”
November 2013: SpiceJet (ROJ) has reported a net loss of -Rs5.59 billion/-$90 million for the second quarter ended September 30, widened from a loss of -Rs1.6 billion for the year-ago period.
SpiceJet (ROJ) has resumed flights between Bengaluru (BLR) and Jaipur (JAI). On October 29th (ROJ) re-started thrice-weekly flights on the 1,520 km route linking the two cities, using its 737-800s. (ROJ) had previously served the route in 2008. IndiGo (IGO), with daily flights, and Air Costa, with daily flights, also currently serve the market.
(ROJ) launched daily flights between Madurai (IXM) and Dubai (DXB) on November 22nd. The 2,950 km route will be operated by (ROJ)’s 737-800s and will face no direct competition. It becomes Madurai’s second international destination as both SpiceJet (ROJ) and Mihin Lanka (MIH) serve Colombo in Sri Lanka. It is also (ROJ)’s fifth route to Dubai, following in the footsteps of Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kochi, and Mumbai. In the year ending March 2013, Madurai Airport handled 558,500 passengers, of which only 30,000 were on international flights.
December 2013: Indian low cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) and Singapore’s largest budget airline Tigerair (TGR) have signed a three-year interline agreement for more connectivity between flights operated by both carriers. The connections will be through the Hyderabad airport in south India.
The alliance is part of the heightened activity in the Indian airline space, as more airlines are launching operations. The two airlines have reportedly been in discussions for an equity stake.
Indian business conglomerate, the Tata group, has floated two airline joint ventures, one with Singapore Airlines (SIA) for a full-service airline and another with Malaysia’s AirAsia (ASW) for a low-fare carrier, after the government relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for the sector in September 2012. Both ventures are awaiting final regulatory clearances. Jet Airways (JPL) has just concluded a $900 million transaction to sell 24% equity to Etihad Airways (EHD), and Air India (AIN) is on its way to enter the Star (SAL) Alliance.
Starting January 6, customers traveling on SpiceJet (ROJ)’s domestic network from 14 Indian cities will be able to connect through Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to Tigerair (TGR)’s Singapore-bound flights. The 14 Indian cities are Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chennai, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Indore, Mangalore, Madurai, Pune, Bengaluru, Tirupati, and Visakhapatnam (Vizag). Starting from January 12, (TGR) customers from Singapore will also have easy access to SpiceJet (ROJ)’s domestic network.
Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, which is operated by private company (GMR) Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL), will provide a free porter service to facilitate the collection and transfer of checked-in baggage for passengers traveling on connecting flights between the 2 airlines.
January 2014: Jet Airways (JPL) and SpiceJet (ROJ) are expected to report steep losses in the quarter ended December 31, 2013, hurt by high fuel prices, a weak rupee and high fares. (JPL) is expected to post a loss of around -380 crore rupees to -475 crore rupees, including its subsidiary JetKonnect (SQH). SpiceJet (ROJ) may report a loss of between -175 crore rupees and -215 crore rupees.
In the year-ago quarter, Jet (JPL) and SpiceJet (ROJ) earned 85 crore rupees and 102.1 crore rupees in net profit, respectively. Both will report their latest quarterly earnings in the next few weeks.
India's airlines have been hurt by high prices of aviation fuel, which makes up half their operating cost, while the rupee's fall against the greenback last year added to their dollar-denominated costs. A rise in fares also hurt passenger traffic in the December quarter, which because of the festive season and Christmas and year-end holidays, is normally the peak period of the year for airlines.
The fresh losses will cause more damage to the balance sheets of both the airlines. "Jet Airways (JPL)'s losses in fiscal year 2013 to 2014, excluding adjustments and income from asset sale, could almost wipe out the entire US$379-million equity infusion by Etihad Airways (EHD) and (put it) on course to be the highest-ever yearly loss."
"Domestic operations are a big negative and continue to be unviable and this is drawing down the entire financial performance." (EHD) will infuse more money in (JPL). He said that a "meaningful revival might take longer than expected".
As for SpiceJet (ROJ), the airline's "fiscal year 2013 to 2014 losses could be closer to the total combined losses since 2007, which are Rs 1,186 crore but subject to 4th quarter performance."
Low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet is planning to rearrange its operations with more leg room for its premium customers and a new food menu apart from a few additions and omissions in its domestic and international routes.
The move comes at a time when the competition in the segment is expected to increase with new players joining the market in the near future. (ROJ) announced it would remove Puducherry, Trichy and Allahabad stations from its network, as part of scheduling its destinations.
It is adding new international destinations, including Hong Kong and Dhaka, while it would be discontinuing its Pune to Bangkok, Varanasi to Sharjah and Delhi to Guangzhou flights. As per the new schedule, Sharjah will continue to be served from Pune and Lucknow; Bangkok from Bangalore. Guangzhou will be served from Kolkata, along with Hong Kong.
It has also announced plans earlier to build on the interline alliance with Tigerair (TGR) by adding new cities to the existing footprint.
The revised schedule will fully deploy SpiceJet (ROJ)'s fleet of 42 Boeing and 15 Dash 8-Q400 airplanes, and will result in further growth for the airline.
On the product front, (ROJ) has announced the launch of new and enhanced products and services, including "SpiceMAX," a priority handling product for premium passengers besides enhanced 10 kg hand baggage allowance.
Turkish (THY) Technic and SpiceJet (ROJ) have expanded relations with an agreement for landing gear overhauls services. Turkish (THY) will provide landing gear repair and overhaul, including spare support, for SpiceJet (ROJ)’s 23 Boeing 737-800s between 2013 and 2018. The work will be done in Istanbul, Turkey. Also, XL Airways France (STU) has signed up Turkish (THY) for base maintenance on a 737-800.
At the end of this month, USA officials downgraded India's aviation safety rating due to that country’s lack of compliance with international safety standards as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The (FAA) said India has been assigned a Category 2 rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. India received the downgraded rating based on a recent reassessment of the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Although the (FAA) did not provide details on the downgrading, the lower rating means India's (CAA) now lacks the ability to meet (ICAO) standards in areas such as providing adequate manpower for inspections and safety checks on airplanes.
During a news briefing, India Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh called the downgrading "disappointing" and "surprising," stating that he believes "95% of all the issues raised have been solved."
"USA and Indian aviation officials have developed an important working relationship as our countries work to meet the challenges of ensuring international aviation safety. The (FAA) is available to work with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to help India regain its Category 1 rating," said (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta.
With the downgraded rating, Indian carriers will not be able to increase their frequency of flights to the USA and will face extra inspection for current ones. State-run Air India (AIN) has 21x-weekly flights to the USA, while Jet Airways (JPL) has 7x-.
The (FAA) originally identified issues with India's civil aviation oversight during its (IASA) assessment in September. Since then, the India Cabinet has hired 75 additional full-time Inspectors, but will need to take further action to address the (FAA)'s concerns.
February 2014: SpiceJet (ROJ), India’s 4th-biggest airline by market share, reported a quarterly loss mainly due to higher fuel costs and a weak local currency.
Apart from market leader, IndiGo (IGO), all carriers in the 6-player market are loss-making (hit by expensive jet fuel as well as high taxes and airport fees). There has also been a price war in recent quarters with airlines offering big discounts.
SpiceJet (ROJ), controlled by billionaire, Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Group, said it made a net loss of -1.73 billion rupees in its fiscal third quarter ended December, compared with a net profit of +1.02 billion rupees a year earlier.
The company, which sources have said is buying around 40 airplanes from the Boeing Company (TBC) in a deal valued at about $4 billion at list prices, had reported a record -$90 million loss for the three months to September.
(ROJ) is seen as a target for foreign investors after India loosened restrictions on investment by foreign airlines in Indian carriers. SpiceJet (ROJ) has reported interest from potential investors but has not named any.
Fuel costs rose +9% in the quarter from a year earlier, while the negative impact of a weaker rupee was 630 million rupees. Revenue from operations rose +14% to 17.96 billion rupees on the back of a +10% rise in passenger traffic. Passenger yields grew +3% on year, insufficient to offset an increase in costs, (ROJ) said.
March 2014: Spicejet (ROJ) has announced an order for 42 Boeing 737 MAX 8s - - SEE ATTACHED "ROJ-737 MAX 8-2014-03." The order, previously listed as unidentified on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website, is valued at $4.4 billion at list prices.
"The induction of Boeing 737 MAX will further modernize our fleet, improve customer experience, and ensure that we operate the most efficient fleet well into the future," said S L Narayanan, Group (CFO) for the Sun Group.
The airplanes will be powered by (CFM) International (LEAP-1B) engines.
Boeing said that 737 MAX development is on schedule with firm configuration of the airplane achieved in July 2013. The 1st flight is scheduled in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017. The 737 MAX has accumulated >1,800 orders to date.
April 2014: India’s Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on April 1st asked Chennai-based low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) to stop selling tickets at rock-bottom fares. (ROJ), which launched a fare sale last weekend, offered tickets at prices starting from Rs 1. The announcement caused its website to crash after it was unable to cope with the resulting traffic.
SpiceJet (ROJ) on April 2nd defended its position, saying market stimulation with low fares is an essential strategy for (LCC)s. “As a (LCC) airline in a market where demand is currently soft, and being in a market where costs are structurally high, we are trying our best to be innovative and adopting best practices from global (LCC)s in order to attract more customers and improve our revenues,’’ (ROJ) said.
(ROJ), which has been experimenting with aggressive pricing to fill airplanes in lean periods, is battling low yields and poor load factors resulting in losses. (roj) has a fleet of 42 Boeing 737s and 15 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s. In March, it announced an order for 42 Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
Recent efforts to increase revenues include a 3-year interline agreement with Singapore’s largest budget airline Tigerair (TGR) for more connectivity between flights operated by both carriers. The connections are through the Hyderabad airport in south India.
SpiceJet (ROJ) promoters have been looking for a strategic partner to pick up a stake in the airline and bring in fresh capital. Many international carriers are interested in investing in India after the government liberalized foreign direct investment rules, allowing them to take a stake in domestic airlines.
Although (LCC)s control almost three-fourths of India’s domestic air traffic, fares have rarely been rock bottom. Passenger associations say the airlines, led by market leader IndiGo (IGO), usually offer fares in the same range.
AirAsia (ASW) Founder and Chairman, Tony Fernandes has promised to rock the boat when his new airline AirAsia India (AAI) launches. The new carrier has its first airplane and hopes to begin operations in the next few months. New capacity is expected to further reduce fares.
May 2014: SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a net loss of -Rs10 billion/-$167 million for its fiscal year ended March 31. The 12-month net loss, attributed to high debt and a weak rupee, was posted despite a +12.5% year-over-year rise in annual revenue to Rs63 billion.
This is (ROJ)’s 3rd straight annual loss. (ROJ) said, “The year ended March 31st 2014 was perhaps the most challenging period in Indian aviation history. The sharp depreciation of the Indian rupee during the quarter ended September 30th 2013 was unprecedented. Given the fact that >75% of any Indian airline’s cost is influenced by the dollar, the effects of the exchange rates on a broad spectrum of cost heads were crippling.”
Indian airlines have been suffering from softer passenger demand because of slower economic growth through 2013. SpiceJet (ROJ), which has close to 20% of the domestic market share, has been trying to stimulate the market with fare sales. India’s domestic air traffic grew +4% in the January to December 2013 period.
(ROJ) said its revenue management approach in the latest quarter helped increase year-over-year (RASK) despite adverse market conditions. (RASK) in the three months ended March 31, 2014 was up +5%; (CASK) was +12% higher year-over-year.
SpiceJet (ROJ) faces tough times ahead. Competition is imminent from the launch of AirAsia India (AAI), which will also be based in Chennai. (RPJ)’s promoter, Indian billionaire, Kalanithi Maran, has been infusing capital into the venture. In March, (ROJ) confirmed an order for 42 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The management is said to be in negotiations with potential strategic and financial investors that could eventually take a stake in (ROJ). High level sources in the company said a deal is likely to be struck only after it returns to profitability.
June 2014: 4 domestic Indian carriers have objected to the Tata - Singapore Airlines (SIA) full-service airline venture, slated to launch at the end of this year. The 4 airlines (IndiGo (IGO), SpiceJet (ROJ), Go Air (GOZ) and Jet Airways (JPL)) which control three-fourths of the country’s airline market, have requested the yet-to-be named airline be denied permission to launch.
The carriers have written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) under the banner of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA). They argue the amended foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, which allow foreign airlines to buy up to 49% equity in Indian carriers, were meant for existing carriers, not startups. Indian airline analysts say the carriers are trying a last ditch effort to protect their turf.
Tata - (SIA) Ltd is a joint venture (JV) between Indian conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd (with a 51% stake) and Singapore Airlines (sia) (49%). The airline has begun hiring this week. It plans to start with a fleet of 5 Airbus A320s and an initial investment of $100 million.
The airline’s board has cleared the appointment of Singapore Airlines (SIA)’s Phee Teik Yeoh as (CEO).
In February, the (FIA) tried to block AirAsia India (AAI), a new low-cost carrier (LCC) that launched this month. (AAI) is also a new company (a (JV) between the Tatas, Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace.
The regulator dismissed the objections, saying the government made it clear the policy was meant for both existing and new airlines. In a move that will help the 2 new airlines, the Indian government has agreed in principle to scrap a rule requiring airlines to operate for 5 years or have a fleet of 20 airplanes before they are allowed to launch international flights.
The rule has prevented incumbent carriers from launching more lucrative, international operations. The Indian airline industry is in a crisis mode with most carriers reporting losses over the past 4 years.
August 2014: SpiceJet (ROJ) on August 13th began 3x-weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) between Bagdogra (IXB) and Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal. The short 315 km route will be flown by (ROJ)’s 737-800s and will face no direct competition. The flight originates in Kolkata enabling one-stop, same airplane flights between Kolkata and Kathmandu. SpiceJet (ROJ)’s only other non-stop flight to the Nepalese capital is an 11x-weekly service from Delhi. It is SpiceJet (ROJ)’s 1st international service from Bagdogra. Mr Kaneswaran Avili (CCO), SpiceJet said, “We are extremely pleased with the response received for our Kathmandu to Bagdogra to Kolkata connection. This direct service will provide our customers flying from either regions much more convenience in terms of connectivity and reach.”
November 2014: News Item A-1: Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) reported a net loss of -Rs3.1 billion/-$50.4 million for its 2015 fiscal-year (FY) second-quarter ended September 30, narrowed -45% from a loss of -Rs5.6 billion posted in the year-ago quarter.
(ROJ)’s 2nd-quarter revenue grew +15.3% to Rs14.5 billion as expenses were trimmed -2.2% year-over-year to Rs17.9 billion. (ROJ)’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2nd quarter yield was down -7.7% year-over-year to Rs3.58 as (RASK) rose +12% to Rs3.35 and (CASK) fell -6.9% to Rs4.07. (CASK) excluding fuel also fell, dropping -13.8% year-over-year, to Rs2.26.
2nd-quarter traffic was up +27.9% year-over-year to 3.56 billion (RPK)s on a +7.2% capacity increase to 4.34 billion (ASK)s, resulting in a quarterly passenger load factor of 81.9% LF, up +13.3 points year-over-year.
Noting the July to September period is “traditionally the weakest quarter of the year for aviation in India,” SpiceJet (ROJ) said the quarter’s result “clearly demonstrates the positive impact of (ROJ)'s strategy [of] maximizing asset and capacity utilization [it] demonstrates that the turnaround effort, which is still a work-in-progress, has gained momentum during the quarter.”
(ROJ) cut advance-purchase fares during the quarter, promoting several advance-purchase sales with all-in one-way fares as low as Rs1999/about $33; subsequent passenger traffic growth and higher loads proved to be a boon. “The incremental revenue from increased loads significantly [exceeded] the impact of [the] decrease in average fare and [resulted] in higher average revenue per flight and per (ASK),” (ROJ) said. Ancillary revenue, “further catalyzed by higher loads,” increased +31.1% year-over-year to Rs1.4 billion.
SpiceJet (ROJ) said its market stimulation led to a 28% growth in domestic passenger traffic in India in the month of September, traditionally India’s weakest travel month.
“[Our] efforts have had a positive impact on the travel industry as a whole by helping increase demand to fill seats that would otherwise go empty,” (ROJ) said. “This [is] benefitting not just (ROJ) but also all the other players in the travel value chain due to the increased volume of travel.”
News Item A-2: SpiceJet (ROJ), the Indian airline that's posted 5 straight quarterly losses, is temporarily canceling 40x-daily in a step the indebted carrier said is part of a fleet reorganization.
The cancellations will last about 10 days, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sanjiv Kapoor said. The "pre-planned" move is part of a fleet "restructuring," with passengers notified in advance and offered alternative travel, he said.
SpiceJet (ROJ), majority owned by its Chairman, billionaire Kalanithi Maran, is shrinking its fleet and workforce and seeking investment in one of the world's most expensive markets for airlines. (ROJ) has offered fares as low as US$8 to fill seats amid intensifying competition from companies such as AirAsia India (AAI).
(ROJ) shares erased gains of as much as +3.9% and were little changed at 13.97 rupees as of 11:36 am in Mumbai. They've slumped -20% in 2014, compared with a +32% gain in the (S&P) (BSE) Sensex index.
(ROJ) is now operating 26 Boeing 737 jets, down from a fleet of 35 earlier this year, Kapoor said. The budget carrier wants to go back to flying 35 planes by December and as many as 50 jets by the 2nd half of next year.
December 2014: India’s Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma said that discussions are ongoing for a revival plan for Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ), which has been struggling financially.
February 2015: Spicejet ((IATA) Code: SG, based at Delhi International) (ROJ) has not changed the status of its order for 42 737 MAX 8 jets, the President of Boeing (TBC) India, Pratyush Kumar, has said. Placed in March 2014, deliveries are still expected to commence in 2018 as (ROJ) seeks to return to profitability through an increase in its overall available seat capacity.
Immediate plans to increase its fleet from 19 737-800s to 26 by summer and 33 by the end of the year have been hindered by existing lessors unwillingness to extend leases with the carrier. Earlier this month, Ireland's Babcock & Brown Aircraft Management (BBB) moved to repossess 6 737-800s amid claims of USD100 million in unpaid leasing dues and Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) fees.
But, in the interests of protecting its airline industry, "Bloomberg" news last week quoted an anonymous government official as saying India would help Spicejet (ROJ) retain its fleet of airplanes despite the country being a signatory to the Cape Town Convention, which defines the rights of airplane owners or lessors, in the event of a default on payments, allowing them to repossess their equipment quickly if there is no resolution.
Lessors, which include the leasing arm of the Bank of China, (BOC) Aviation (SIL), are afraid of a repeat of the Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) bankruptcy in 2012, in which the Indian government dragged its feet over the de-registering of Kingfisher (KFH)-operated airplanes.
In other (ROJ) related news, there are reports that (ROJ) is in talks with Bombardier (BMB) over a proposed sale/leaseback agreement involving (ROJ)'s fleet of 15 Dash 8-400s. The tentative deal would raise roughly USD96.5 million in added capital for (ROJ)'s operations. However, last week, India's "Business Standard" newspaper quoted an unnamed airline executive as saying Spicejet (ROJ)'s new owners, Ajay Singh and Company, were still out on the future of the Dash 8-Q400s, given that many of (ROJ)'s loss-making routes are operated with the turboprops. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.
March 2015: Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) has used a +$10 million injection by new investor Ajay Singh to buy a reprieve from airplane lessors threatening to repossess their airplanes.
(ROJ) has paid off unspecified lessors (it currently has airplanes on lease from (BOC) Aviation (SIL), (ICBC), (MCAP), Air Lease Corporation (ALE), (B&B) Air Acquisition, and (AWAS) (AWW)) following legal action over retention of at least 6 of its Boeing 737-800 airplanes.
“Obviously when we lease planes, we like people to pay us,” (BOC) Aviation (SIL) (CEO) Robert Martin said. Referring to SpiceJet (ROJ), Martin said if any airline was unable to pay its leasing fees, then “the way an operating lessor reacts is by moving its planes to somewhere else in the world.”
Key investor Singh, who has taken over from previous majority shareholder, Kalanithi Maran to hold a controlling 60.31% stake in (ROJ), has pledged to invest at least Rs 1,500 crore/$250 million in (ROJ) to bring it back to profitability. Following a cash crisis brought on by heavy price cuts last year, (ROJ) canceled >18,000 flights late last year and said it could cut its fleet -30%.
To date, no other major investors have come forward, despite a government plea late last year for banks to float some $95 million in loans for the airline.
However, under Singh’s new management, staff back-salaries have been paid, overdue service and source taxes brought up to date, and flight schedules trimmed.
According to (ROJ), its 1st priority is to clear outstanding debts. (CFO) Kiran Koteshwar noted that “as and when cash comes in, we will clear all dues of our creditors.”
As part of the restructuring, six destinations, including Aurangabad, Belagavi, Indore, Lucknow, Surat, and Thiruvananthapuram have been cut from SpiceJet (ROJ)’s route map, reducing the daily flight tally from a peak of 350x-daily to around 200x-daily.
Although the likelihood of staff shakeups is high, Singh has said (ROJ) will see “no massive changes at the moment,” although he said he was “looking around for some new senior management.”
April 2015: SpiceJet (ROJ), which was threatened with airplane lease cancellations and potential bankruptcy in recent months, has rebuffed an offer from JP Morgan Chase for an equity-led bailout.
Ajay Singh Founder, has regained control of SpiceJet (ROJ) after a series of operational and financial problems, mainly due to the competitive Indian Low Cost Carrier (LCC) market and its razor-thin margins in the face of competition from other regional (LCC)s such as IndiGo (IGO) and previously by now-defunct, Kingfisher (KFH).
However, Ajay said the company is relying on local investors for the bailout of up to INR1 billion/$156 million, which is needed to cover SpiceJet (ROJ)’s current leasing, aircrew (FC) pay and tax debts.
“This money [will come] from a mix of investors and banks,” Ajay said. “We are getting a lot of offers from players like private equity, debt providers, hybrid products and even foreign airlines,” he said, but indicated (ROJ) is not looking for a single big player.
(ROJ), which has cut -1,600 jobs (>25% of the workforce) and trimmed schedules, said it will opt for “the mode of investment that comes at the lowest cost.”
Singh, the original Founder of SpiceJet (ROJ), took back the helm of the (LCC) in March following threats by a series of aviation leasing companies to repossess airplanes. He bought back control of 60.3% of shares from previous boss Kalanithi Maran to give overall control.
Singh said if the carrier did need any further funds, any move would be postponed until the operation was trading more profitably. He added that if any “further dilution of stake is needed,” that would only come once the valuation of the airline had recovered from its current position.
June 2015: Spicejet (ROJ) is leasing a Czech (CSA) A319.
737-9GJER (34961, VT-5ZL), ex-(N423DC), Babcock & Brown (BBB) leased and A319-112 (3094, OK-MEL), (CSA) wet-leased, ex-(D-AVWN).
July 2015: "SpiceJet (ROJ) Says Lessor Returns One Plane Taken Back During Crisis" by "Bloomberg News" July 15, 2015.
SpiceJet (ROJ), the Indian budget carrier bailed out by its co-Founder, said it has got back 1 airplane that it was forced to return during the crisis, and is in talks for return of more.
(BBAM) Aircraft Leasing & Management (BBB), which last year dragged (ROJ) to court for non-payment of dues, has already returned one airplane, Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Operations Officer (COO) said. The returned plane "is a visible sign of renewed lessor confidence" Kapoor said by phone from New Delhi. "We've had sufficient infusion of funds since the change in ownership, to stabilize our business."
SpiceJet (ROJ) Co-founder Ajay Singh bailed out (ROJ) in February after lessors took away its planes for not paying monthly rentals, and (ROJ) delayed paying staff salaries. Singh founded (ROJ) in 2005 and left the company in 2010, returning in February with an initial investment of 5 billion rupees/US$79 million.
There is "sufficient interest" from investors to infuse more funds into the company, and staff who left during its crisis are looking to rejoin, Kapoor said.
August 2015: News Item A-1: SpiceJet (ROJ)reported the highest passenger load factor of 93.4% LF among domestic airlines for July. This is the fourth month in a row (ROJ) has topped the charts.
(ROJ) managed to increase its load factor in July despite the numbers for the sector showing a declining trend, as compared to June, primarily due to the end of tourist season.
Passenger load factor measures the capacity utilization of airlines or how many seats were filled as compared to the total capacity.
Higher capacity utilization in July helped SpiceJet (ROJ) to increase its market share in the domestic market to +12.3% in July, from 11.6% in the June quarter. In comparison, rival IndiGo (IGO), which is India's largest airline by number of passengers carried, reported a load factor of 78.4% LF in July.
Shilpa Bhatia Senior VP & Head of Sales & Distribution at (ROJ) attributed the high load factor to flash sales that have helped (ROJ) to fill up seats despite the lean season. "We have at every point worked on our revenue numbers and always passed on benefits of fuel costs to customers through discounts," she said. The flash sales help to garner additional revenues as "each empty seat that flies is opportunity lost to make revenues" she said.
(ROJ) has been 1 of the most aggressive players in offering discount schemes. (ROJ) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sanjiv Kapoor had earlier said that (ROJ) has an advantage, because it started the discount schemes "earlier than others and has more historical data to work with."
(ROJ) on August 20 put on block 1 lakh seats with fares starting at 799 rupees (not inclusive of taxes). Many other airlines have followed (ROJ) in offering aggressive discount schemes. These promotional schemes have helped spur a big growth in passenger travel.
Passengers carried by domestic airlines in the 1st 7 months of this year till July rose +21% to 455.78 lakh.
News Item A-2: Spicejet (ROJ)) is planning to enter the freight sector using an undisclosed number of Dash 8-400s. Airline sources who spoke to India's "Financial Express" said (ROJ) was considering using its un-utilized Dash 8-Q400s for night time cargo flights between Delhi International and Bangalore International.
“The aircraft that will be used for this operation would be those sitting dead at night. They would be utilized to fly ‘cargo on seat’ between Bangalore and Delhi,” Manjiv Singh, Spicejet's Head of Freight Operations, said. “These are on planning stage and should take shape in the next 3 to 6 months."
Currently, Spicejet (ROJ) operates a fleet of 36 airplanes, including 14 Dash 8-Q400s, and serves 7 countries, with 40 destinations on 130 routes and 247 daily flights.
October 2015: SpiceJet (ROJ) is reportedly looking to buy some 200 new airplanes worth >$10 billion at current prices to expand its fleet and network. (ROJ) said the fleet expansion is to be made up of single-aisle jets as well as regional turboprops.
(ROJ) Chairman Ajay Singh has been quoted in multiple media outlets as saying the low cost carrier (LCC) intends to place “substantial orders” for airplanes, both large [jet] airplanes and small regional aircraft, and hopes both can be done “in this financial year.”
Spicejet (ROJ) has said it intends to finalize its order book by March 2016, and that it is in advanced-state negotiations with both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) for the narrow body jet sales. (ROJ) operates both Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) jets in a mixed fleet.
Singh said the order would be for up to 150 aircraft made up of either Boeing 737s, or Airbus A320s, and would be in addition to the 42 Boeing 737 MAX 8s (ROJ) ordered in March 2014.
SpiceJet (ROJ) said it was also talking to both Bombardier (BMB) and ATR for a significant order of turboprops to add to its current 14 Dash 8-Q400 domestic fleet.
The move comes as (ROJ) has settled several disputes with its creditors. This followed the reinstatement of Founder Singh as (ROJ)’s Chairman in February this year, and his injection of $10 million into the struggling carrier. At the time, (ROJ) was facing repossession of several of its airplanes by leasing and financing companies.
However, following significant restructuring and route rationalization, SpiceJet (ROJ) has cut its outstanding debt by some -50% and is looking forward to a “vastly improved performance in the (July to September) quarter,” Singh said.
(ROJ) was rumored to be in discussions with Qatar Airways (QTA) for a potential buy-in by the Middle East carrier earlier this year, although both dismissed the reports.
December 2015: News Item A-1: "INCDT - Wild Pigs Trigger SpiceJet Runway Excursion" by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, December 7, 2015.
A SpiceJet (ROJ) Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400 with 53 passengers and crew on board suffered a runway excursion and emergency evacuation after hitting a pack of wild pigs on landing at India’s Jabalpur Dumna Airport.
The flight, SG 2458 from Mumbai to Jabalpur, touched down safely at about 1945 local time on December 4, but ran into a herd of some 40 wild boars as it was decelerating, and as a result, veered off the runway onto soft ground.
The Dash 8-Q400 captain, Amartya Basu, had >10,000 hours of flying experience, and was described as “skillful and experienced” by (ROJ). “The captain helped to avert a major disaster by diverting the aircraft to moderate the impact,” a (ROJ) spokesperson said.
(ROJ) said the condition of the aircraft is still being assessed, but it had sustained severe damage to the port undercarriage (landing gear), causing the aircraft to collapse onto the ground.
All passengers and crew were evacuated and no injuries were reported.
The incident comes after India’s Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered a report on safety at animal-plagued airports across India. The survey on potential problems with wildlife wandering onto airport areas was initiated after a SpiceJet (ROJ) aircraft hit a buffalo while taxiing at Surat Airport, Magdalla in Gujarat last year.
Following the Dash 8-Q400 incident, (ROJ) warned that “no pilot (FC) is trained to land on runways infested with animals (and Jabalpur airport has a chronic history [of this kind of incident]).”
In April this year, the USA (FAA) upgraded India’s rating from Category 2 to a Category 1 safety rating following a review of the aviation regulator’s oversight and procedures.
April 2016: News Item A-1: Key Indian international airports at Delhi and Mumbai are experiencing accessibility problems as a result of traffic volume increases and infrastructure upgrades.
Airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) said surface improvements on the airport’s Runway 10/28 would take 1 week from April 5, but carriers would not be inconvenienced. However, some carriers have warned passengers to expect delays during the maintenance period.
(DIAL) said remaining runways, 09/27 and 11/29, would be fully available on a 24/7 basis to handle traffic and that “these 2 runways will be sufficient to take care of the current need of air traffic movement.”
In addition, low-cost carrier (LCC) IndiGo (IGO) issued a statement to travelers April 8 saying that “consequential delays and congestion” are to be expected during the upgrading work at Delhi International.
At Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, IndiGo (IGO), SpiceJet (ROJ) and GoAir (GOZ) have all noted there are accessibility issues and extra costs involved with a planned relocation from the existing Terminal 1.
National carrier Air India (AIN)/(IND), which was the launch airline at the new terminal late last year, has advised passengers on some domestic flights to check-in up to 3 hours before takeoff because of extra security and check-in procedures.
Airport operator, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) is keen to move the (LCC)s to the new facility to improve overall capacity and service quality, but several (LCC)s and passenger groups have raised issues about the extra times required, as well as resulting increased operating costs and the longer distance between parking gates and terminals for transit passengers.
January 2017: Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet (ROJ) has substantially increased its commitment for Boeing 737s, with a major order for the forthcoming 737 MAX 8.
(ROJ) already has an order for 42 737 MAX 8s on Boeing’s books. The new order, announced January 13, adds a further 100 MAX 8s that were booked at the end of 2016, 13 additional MAXs that Boeing’s had previously attributed to an unidentified customer, plus purchase rights for +50 more airplanes.
This takes SpiceJet (ROJ)’s orders and commitments to a total of 205 airplanes. Gurgaon-based (ROJ) already operates a fleet of 32 Boeing 737-800 and 737-900ERs, together with around 20 Bombardier Dash 8-400s in service or on order for shorter sectors.
“The Boeing 737 class of airplanes has been the backbone of our fleet since (ROJ) began,” SpiceJet (ROJ) Chairman & Managing Director Ajay Singh said. “With the next generation of 737 and the 737 MAX, we are sure that we can be competitive and grow profitably.”
(ROJ) placed its 1st order with Boeing in 2005 for Next-Generation 737s.
1 737-8AS (33594, VT-SLG), ex-(HS-DBM), Fly Leasing (BBB) leased, ferried Bangkok to Delhi.
April 2017: SpiceJet (ROJ) has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to equip its fleet with Lufthansa Systems (LHS)' BoardConnect Portable in-flight entertainment (IFE) and e-commerce platform.
"Both companies signed an (LOI) to this effect after the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. SpiceJet (ROJ) passengers will be able to use the new offer within 2017," Lufthansa Systems (LHS) said, announcing the agreement April 20.
BoardConnect Portable uses battery-powered mobile streaming units (MSU), which can be placed on an aircraft to provide on board (IFE) to passenger devices. (MSU)s qualify as non-permanently installed equipment so they are quick to roll out.
"SpiceJet (ROJ) expects to be the 1st low cost carrier (LCC) in India to provide this unique entertainment and shopping experience to its customers," (ROJ) Chief Managing Director Ajay Singh said.
New Delhi-based (ROJ) operates 55 Boeing 737s and Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s on domestic flights within India and to destinations in SE Asia.
June 2017: News Item A-1: SpiceJet (ROJ) signed an (MOU) covering 40 Boeing 737 MAX 10s at the Paris Air Show.
September 2017: SpiceJet (ROJ) is continuing to work on plans to enter the long-haul low cost carrier (LCC) market, although the decision hangs on airplane economics and purchase price. “We are working with the airplane makers to see what works and hopefully it’s not too far away,” (ROJ) Chairman & Managing Director Ajay Singh said at the Aviation Festival in London. Singh believes (ROJ) can tap the potential of new technologies with lower fuel burn to make a long-haul (LCC) model work.
November 2017: (STG) Aerospace has a LiTeMood cabin lighting retrofit contract with SpiceJet (ROJ) for 35 Boeing 737NGs.
Click below for photos:
ROJ-737 MAX 8 - 2017-01.jpg
ROJ-737 MAX 8-2014-03
ROJ-737-800 - 2013-12
ROJ-737-800 - 2015-08.jpg
ROJ-Bombardier Q400 - 2017-09.jpg
ROJ-DHC-8-Q400 - 2012-03
0 737-4YO (CFM56-3) (1781-24519, /89 33 16 TC-ACA), EX-(CAY)/(IST), (BBB) LEASED 2001-04. RETURNED 2001-12.
1 737-7GL (CFM56-7B) (34760, VT-SLB), EX-(TC-SBB), SUNEXPRESS (SNS) LEASED 2015-11.
1 737-76N (CFM56-7B) (34753, VT-SLA), EX-(TC-SAO) SUNEXPRESS (SNS) LEASED 2015-11.
2 737-8AS (CFM56-7B24) (588-29925, /00 VT-SGL "NUTMEG" 2011-02; 722-29926, /00 VT-SGO "MACE" 2010-09), (TCI) LEASED, EX-(YR-BIA & YR-BIB). WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
1 737-8AS (CFM56-7B24) (33594, VT-SLG), FLY LEASING (BBB) LEASED 2017-01. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
1 737-8BK (CFM56-7B26) (1502-33019, /04 VT-SGK GARLIC"), (TCI) LEASED 2010-12. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
1 737-8FZ (CFM56-7B26) (2483-34954), SOLD TO (BBB) 2008-01 & LEASED BACK. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
14 737-8GJ (CFM56-7B24) (1861-34896, /06 VT-SPF "CORIANDER;" 2069-34897, VT-SPJ "MINT;" 2104-34898, /06 VT-SPK, "FENNEL;" 2128-34899, /06 VT-SPL "CARDAMOM;" 2167-34900, /07 VT-SPM "PEPPER;" 2267-34901, /07 VT-SPN; 2309-34902, /07 VT-SPQ; 2335-34903, /07 VT-SPQ "BASIL;" 2347-34904, /07 VT-SPR; 2392-34905, /07 VT-SPS "MUSTARD;" 2512-34955, /08 VT-SGA; 2719-34959, /08; 3218-36367, /10 VT-SGF "VANILLA;" 3310-36368, /10 VT-SGG "CHILLI;" 3363-36369, /10 VT-SGH "TUMERIC;" 3506-37361, /10 VT-SGI "BAYLEAF;" 3539-37365, /11 VT-SGQ "CELERY;" 3932-37751, 2012-02), 34901; 34902; LEASED TO (TVF) 2007-05. 34959; SOLD TO (BBB) LEASED TO (THY) 2008-09. 34955; RETURNED 2008-09. 34960; & 37360; SOLD TO (BBB) 2008-12, & (34960) LEASED TO SOMON AIR AS (EY-777); & (37360) LEASED TO (TRM) AS (YR-BGS). 26269, VT-SGH; SOLD TO (BBB) & LEASED BACK 2010-07. 37365; SOLD TO (BBB) & LEASED BACK 2011-02. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
0 737-8K2 (CFM56-7B26) (85-28375, VT-SPY; 1132-29345, VT-SPZ), (TAV) LEASED 2005-10. RETURNED. 189Y.
27 ORDERS 737-800 (CFM56-7B24), WITH WINGLETS:
1 737-83N (CFM56-7B27) (1330-30660, /03 VT-SPH), EX-(AAT), (ILF) 5 YEAR LEASED 2006-03. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y
0 737-85F (CFM56-7B26) (180-28824, /99 VT-SPC "TURMERIC;" 467-28827, /00 VT-SPD "CHILLI"), (GAX) LEASED 2005-04. RETURNED. 189Y.
1 737-86J (CFM56-7B26) (1654-29641, /05 VT-SGJ), (MCAP) LEASED 2010-12. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
1 737-86N (CFM56-7B27) (570-28621, /00 VT-SPE "GINGER"), EX-(FUA), (BBB) LEASED 2005-05. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
4 737-86N (CFM56-7B26) (1932-32672, /06 VT-SPW "CINNAMON;" 1951-32693, /O6 VT-SGE "TAMARIND;" 2321-35216, /07 VT-SPO "DILL;" 2359-35217, /07 VT-SPP "ROSEMARY"), (GEF) LEASED. 32693 LST (TAV) 2006-05. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
1 737-86N (CFM56-7B26) (38041, VT-SZG), (GEF) LEASED 2013-07. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
1 737-86N (CFMK56-7B26) (41260, VT-SZF), CELESTIAL AVIATION LEASED 2013-06. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.
6 +2 ORDERS 737-9GJER (CFM56-7B26) (2426-34952, /07 VT-SPT "CLOVE;" 2466-34953, /07 VT-SPU "ANISE;" 2608-34956, /08 VT-SGB "OREGANO;" 2639-34957, /08 VT-SGC; 2744-34961, /08 VT-5ZL "SESAME" 2015-06; 3843-37363, /11 VT-SGW). WITH WINGLETS. 212Y.
92 ORDERS (2017-06) 737 MAX 8 (LEAP-1B):
40 ORDERS 737 MAX 10:
1 A319-112 (3094, OK-MEL), (CSA) WET-LEASED 2015-06.
14 +12 OPTIONS BOMBARDIER DHC DASH 8-Q402 (PW150A) (4373, /11 VT-SUA "SAUNF;" 4374, /11 VT-SUB "HEENG;" 4377, VT-SUC "TULSI;" 4378, VT-SUD "TEJPATTA;" 4379, VT-SUE "ELAICHI;" 4382, VT-SUF 2011-10; - - SEE PHOTO - - "ROJ-DHC-8-Q400-2010-12;" 4387, /11 VT-SUG "JEERAP" 2011-10; 4389, /12 VT-SUH; 4395, /12 VT-SUI; 4396, /12 VT-SUJ; 4398, /12 VT-SUK; 4400, /12 VT-SUL; 4402, /12 VT-SUM; 4404, /12 VT-SUO; 4412, /12 VT-SUP), 78Y.
Click below for photos:
ROJ-1-NEIL MILLS - 2013-04
ROJ-1-NEIL RAYMOND MILLS - 2012-02
AJAY SINGH, CO-FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR.
Ajay has regained control of SpiceJet (ROJ) (2015-04) by buying back control of 60.3% of shares. After a series of operational and financial problems, mainly due to the competitive Indian Low Cost Carrier (LCC) market and its razor-thin margins in the face of competition from other regional (LCC)s such as IndiGo (IGO) and previously by now-defunct, Kingfisher (KFH).
However, Ajay said the company was relying on local investors for the bailout of up to INR1 billion/$156 million, which was needed to cover SpiceJet (ROJ)’s current leasing, aircrew (FC) pay and tax debts.
“This money [will come] from a mix of investors and banks,” Ajay said. “We are getting a lot of offers from players like private equity, debt providers, hybrid products and even foreign airlines,” he said, but indicated (ROJ) is not looking for a single big player.
KALANITHI MARAN, CHAIRMAN (AND 38.66% SHAREHOLDER).
SANJIV KAPOOR, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO).
S L NARAYANAN, SUN GROUP CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO).
KIRAN KOTESHWAR, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO).
PARTHA SARATHI, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO), EX-WHIRLPOOL INDIA, (2007-04).
KANESWARAN AVILI, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER (CCO).
CAPTAIN J S DHILLON, EXECUTIVE VP FLIGHT OPERATIONS, (email@example.com).
ROGER PAGE, EXECUTIVE VP ENGINEERING (firstname.lastname@example.org), EX-(SAQ).
KAMAL HINGORANI, SENIOR VP GROUND SERVICES.
MS SHILPA BHATIA, SENIOR VP & HEAD, SALES & DISTRIBUTION.
MANJIV SINGH, HEAD FREIGHT OPERATIONS.
GROUP CAPTAIN BISHNOI, GENERAL MANAGER FLIGHT OPERATIONS.
ARCHIE JACOBS, GENERAL MANAGER QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA).
S P VERMA, GENERAL MANAGER MAINTENANCE.