Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd will have to cancel more than a fifth of its planned daily flights if it cannot reach an agreement with its lessors to bring in more aircraft by the end of this month, a company spokesman said.
SpiceJet, which came close to collapsing in December after running out of cash to pay its creditors, is scheduled to make 280 daily flights from next week. But with its current fleet at 17 Boeing 737 jets and 15 Bombardier Q400s SpiceJet can only fly 218 journeys a day, the spokesman said on Friday.
SpiceJet lost 11 of its Boeing planes after the Delhi High Court this month ordered the aviation regulator to deregister the jets, following disputes with three lessors.
The troubles of India’s second-largest budget carrier by market share have underlined the difficulties of operating in the country, where air travel is growing rapidly but high costs and tough competition have left most carriers unprofitable. The company spokesman said SpiceJet is in talks to resolve disputes with two of its lessors and get back enough planes to allow it to meet its summer schedule. On Monday it said one of its lessors had agreed to withdraw the deregistion process.
Ajay Singh, a co-founder of the airline, rescued SpiceJet in December with a $240 million bailout that he says has put the airline on the road to recovery.
SpiceJet was forced to ground its fleet and cancel hundreds of its flights in December before the rescue deal emerged, angering passengers stranded during a busy holiday period.