SpiceJet plans to hire up to 2,000 staff, including pilots and cabin crew, of the defunct Jet Airways as the no-frills carrier continues to expand its operations. The airline has taken at least 22 planes that were earlier used by Jet Airways, which temporarily shuttered its operations due to cash crunch in April.
“We have taken a significant number of people from Jet Airways. They were well qualified ad professional people. We will continue to take more Jet staff in the times to come. “We have taken around 1,100 people so far. Expectation is that we will go up to 2,000 people. It will be pilots, cabin crew, (people) from airport services, security…,” SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh told PTI in an interview here.
Currently, SpiceJet has around 14,000 staff and a fleet of 100 planes. It is the fourth airline after Air India, now defunct Jet Airways and IndiGo to have 100 aircraft. SpiceJet has Boeing 737s, Bombardier Q-400s and B737 freighters. It operates around 575 daily flights on an average to 62 destinations, including nine international ones, he said.
To a query on whether SpiceJet would look at operating wide-body aircraft that were earlier used by Jet Airways, Singh said the airline is right now focussed on narrow-body fleet.
“Having said that we recognise that there are gaps which have been created. They need to be filled and in the longer term, if India is to be a global aviation hub, Indian carriers will have to fly long haul. It can’t be only Air India which flies long haul. The models (of business) for us may be different… I am sure every carrier is trying to see what can be done,” he said on Saturday.
On May 28, SpiceJet posted a 22 per cent rise in net profit to Rs 56.3 crore in the three months ended March as higher fares helped the airline amid a capacity crunch in the domestic aviation market.
Singh said there is no plan to raise funds at the moment, adding that the airline is quite comfortably placed in terms of finances. “We are going to expand 80 per cent capacity this year (fiscal). A lot of the capacity is being expanded through the leasing route. Therefore, it may not require huge amount of cash and this year we also expect to be significantly profitable. Also, get significant cash flow through sale and lease back. So, we think that we probably don’t need to dilute any equity,” he noted.
The airline is looking to have an 80 per cent capacity expansion in terms of Available Seat Kilometre (ASK), an indicator of seat capacity. “We have very little debt in the company and the debt relates to Q400s we have on our books for the most part. We are in a healthy situation that we have a very low debt,” Singh said.
In 2015, SpiceJet placed a USD 22 billion order for 205 aircraft with Boeing and had followed it up with a USD 1.7 billion order for 50 Bombardier Q400 planes.