Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SpiceJet Expands Domestic Network; adds Madurai

MADURAI: Low cost carrier SpiceJet on Monday expanded its domestic network by adding Madurai as its 20th destination and announced a fleet expansion programme over the coming years to meet the growing domestic demand.

The first flight with over 150 passengers from Chennai landed here this morning as the 'cultural capital' was included in the list of one of the major low-cost airliners in India.

The airliner will now operate services between Madurai and Chennai, connecting onwards to Delhi and Mumbai.

Company Director and CEO Kishore Gupta told reporters here that the airliner had placed orders for 30 new aircraft with Boeing starting delivery in 2014 as part of an "aggressive growth plan".

"We hope Madurai's good fortune will give us the launch that we want," he said.

Already having presence in three cities--Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai--in the state, SpiceJet was mulling adding one more city but that was yet to be finalised, he said.

Two flights will connect Chennai-Madurai daily and it will be connected to Mumbai and Delhi via Chennai.

International operations (Delhi-Kathmandu and Chennai- Colombo) were scheduled to start from October 7 and 9, respectively.

These sectors would be relatively easier in achieving break-even and expansions would be in place after consolidating the company's presence in this route, he said.

Chief Commercial Officer Samyukth Sridharan said the airliner currently operates 22 flights and said another seven flights would be added over the next 14 months.

As part of the expansion plans, SpiceJet Airlines would mull connecting cities such as Lucknow, Thiruvanathapuram and Indore, which were not on its destinations right now.

He said the airliner intended to increase its passenger strength from 65 lakh last year to 85 lakh this year.

He said that today's launch was a result of passengers' demand for connectivity to Mumbai and Delhi.

To a question on the Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs), Gupta expressed hope that it will be completed by the year-end, subsequent to which south Indian business magnate Kalanidhi Maran's stake in the company will go upto 37 per cent.

Source: The Economic Times

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