Indian budget carrier SpiceJet has received permissions that could pave the way for its budget flights to both the United States and the United Kingdom.
SpiceJet has been designated as an “Indian designated carrier,” and announced it has received permission to operate flights to the United Kingdom and the United States amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a filing to the Bombai Stock Exchange (BSE) on July 23, SpiceJet stated it has been designated an “Indian scheduled carrier” for flights between the US and India under the terms of the bilateral air services agreement between both countries.
On the following day (July 24), the airline issued another statement stating: "In continuation of our communication dated July 23, 2020 informing designation for USA operations, we would like to further inform you that in terms of the Air Services Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of the United Kingdom, SpiceJet has been designated as Indian scheduled carrier to operate on agreed services between India and the UK."
The approvals for flight rights to the United States and the United Kingdom comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic flights have since resumed after all flights in the country were suspended in late March. International flights have been limited for repatriation flights for Indians returning home or foreign nationals looking to leave the country.
No flight plans have been announced, as SpiceJet will now have to comply with US and UK aviation regulations and secure flight slots at its preferred destinations in both countries. Flights to both countries by SpiceJet will compete with Air India's services. The two markets had services by Jet Airways, which stopped operations in the spring of 2019.
Founded in 2005, the Gurugram, India-based budget carrier is the country's second largest domestic airline in terms of passengers carried. It currently operates a fleet of over 120 aircraft including Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400s both which do not have the range for non-stop long-haul flights over 8 hours.
According to a report from the Times of India published July 10, SpiceJet plans to wet lease an Airbus A330Neo.