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SpiceJet’s resurgence could disrupt Indian aviation market: CAPA India

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The Delhi-bound SpiceJet airplane following its emergency landing after it caught fire mid-air, at Jai Prakash Narayan Airport, in Patna (Photo: PTI)

SpiceJet currently has about 66 planes in its fleet. About 40 planes out of 66 are in active service and the rest are grounded (Photo: PTI)

SpiceJet’s resurgence, once the new funding is in place, has the potential to disrupt the Indian aviation market in 2024 as the airline will bring its grounded aircraft back to service and lease as many planes as possible to be competitively relevant, aviation consultancy firm CAPA India said on Thursday.

Earlier this month, cash-strapped SpiceJet announced it is going to raise a total of Rs 2,241.5 crore through issuance of equity and warrants — Rs 1,591.5 crore will be raised by issuance of equity to 58 entities and Rs 650 crore will be raised by issuance of warrants on a preferential basis to five other entities.

The airline said it will use the aforementioned Rs 2,241.5 crore to pay statutory obligations such as tax deducted at source (TDS), goods and services tax (GST), provident fund (PF), etc, settle past dues with creditors, unground its grounded planes and acquire new aircraft, pay for aviation turbine fuel,  paying salaries to employees, and general corporate purposes.

“Although the market for procuring aircraft in 2024 is exceptionally tight, we expect that SpiceJet will bring stored aircraft back into operations, and will wet or dry lease as much capacity as possible, in order to be competitively relevant. This will have a material impact on the industry structure, and possibly on domestic profitability,” CAPA India said in its report.

SpiceJet currently has about 66 planes in its fleet. About 40 planes out of 66 are in active service and the rest are grounded.

“The resurgence of SpiceJet (with or without acquiring Go First), once new funding is in place, may be the most watched development in the industry in 2024, given that it has the potential to disrupt the market. Though we believe that the tranche structure of the funding may be a possible downside,” CAPA India noted.

SpiceJet recently expressed interest in buying Go First, which went insolvent in May this year. “SpiceJet may be the most appropriate bidder for Go First, if it can raise the funding. If successful, it would provide access to 50+ aircraft on the ground in India and an order book for 72 aircraft,” CAPA India noted.

The consultancy firm said that if SpiceJet goes for organic expansion by placing orders with aircraft makers, it would take two to three years.

“Although contemplating such a scenario may be premature at present, if they’re successful it may lead to SpiceJet transitioning to an all-Airbus fleet in the near term,” it added.

CAPA India said that IndiGo will continue to maintain its dominance of the domestic market in 2024 despite the capacity challenges. IndiGo had announced last month that it will ground about 35 more planes in the early part of 2024 due to a new issue in Pratt & Whitney engines.

IndiGo will mitigate supply chain and other issues by securing alternative capacity, to ensure that expansion plans, capacity guidance and strategic targets are met, CAPA India noted.

“IndiGo’s ability to secure replacement capacity on a timely basis will be a key issue to track (in 2024). The debut of the carrier’s business class will be another important strategic development in 2024, especially its product features,” it added.

Air India’s first six A350 aircraft are expected to be deployed on international routes from summer 2024, joining 5 B777 aircraft already released from Delta Airlines, and other B777s leased and yet to come from Etihad Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

“This will result in a significantly upgraded long and ultra long haul product and customer experience (at Air India). Product standardisation across the fleet will take at least a couple of years, but service standardisation will start to become visible from 2024,” CAPA India mentioned.

First Published: Dec 28 2023 | 3:02 PM IST


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