SpiceJet cleans up after Jet Airways’ sinkage

From providing jobs to inducting aircraft, SpiceJet is lending a helping hand amidst the Jet distress

It has exactly been a week since Jet Airways ceased its carrier operations leaving at least 22,000 employees out of job. It was on April 19, when Jet employees staged a protest at iconic Jantar Mantar of the national capital.

Nearly 300 Jet Airways employees staged a protest at Jantar Mantar, a day after the airline temporarily suspended its flight operations.

As the teary-eyed employees demanded the Narendra Modi led Union Government to step in and save them from muddy waters, their plea had fallen on SpiceJet’s ears and the low-cost airline decided to jump right into the situation.

Starting with providing jobs to Jet Airways’ employees, now the company has agreed to deploy sub-leased Boeing 737 from Jet’s lessors in its domestic range. In a first of the aviation industry, SpiceJet is set to induct at least 27 aircraft from the now ground fleet of Jet Airways.

The official Twitter handle of SpiceJet on April 19, had tweeted, Giving first preference to personnel affected by Jet Airways’ closure, SpiceJet has recruited 500 former Jet Airways employees, including 100 pilots. This follows the induction of 27 aircraft to help relieve capacity crunch caused by the closure.

The aviation industry was flooded with inquiries on the new endeavour of SpiceJet in the testing times but the aviation company cleared the air by turning out to be a good Samaritan. Most of the aircraft owned by Jet Airways was on lease and with SpiceJet offering to operate its aircraft on a sub-lease basis, other airlines including Air India too have expressed interest. Jet reportedly owned 16 aircraft from its fleet of 120.

Sources said SpiceJet had been watching the Jet situation very closely, but unlike others, it decided to step in for a better cause. An aircraft is a costly asset not only from its purchase cost but also its upkeep, said an industry expert. A grounded plane is the worst situation and if the plane keeps flying pilots, cabin crew, maintenance/technical staff, ground persons get to continue their job. SpiceJet has already hired as many as 500 former Jet employees including pilots, cabin crew and other ground staff.

Last week, SpiceJet’s Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh in a statement had said, “As we expand and grow, we are giving first preference to those who have recently lost their jobs due to the unfortunate closure of Jet Airways. We have already provided jobs to more than 100 pilots, more than 200 cabin crew and more than 200 technical and airport staff.”

On April 18 Singh said that SpiceJet will induct six more Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft on dry lease. In addition, the airline will soon introduce 16 Boeing 737 planes and five 90-seater Bombardier Q400 planes. On the same day, the company announced the launch of 24 new flights connecting Mumbai and Delhi with 16 services connecting Mumbai and four Delhi while the remaining four connecting the two metros. These flights are set to be rolled out between April 26 and May 2.

At present, the budget carrier has a fleet of 48 Boeing 737, 27 Bombardier Q-400s and two B737 freighters operating 516 flights daily on an average to 60 destinations (51 domestic and 9 international).

As of now, there are vacant slots, 280 in Mumbai and around 160 in Delhi, left mostly by the grounding of Jet are to be re-allocated by Airports Authority of India and the  Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). With extra planes, SpiceJet is likely to get maximum preference in the slot allocation.

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