Indian-based budget airline SpiceJet has filed to operate flights to the US with the US Department of Transportation (DOT). What will get peoples' attention is the airline plans to use its Boeing 737 aircraft.
In the filing posted on November 25, SpiceJet applied to start cargo charters and repatriation flights between Delhi and New York-JFK. The airline is seeking to be able to start the flights as soon as possible.
However, unlike its counterparts SpiceJet plans to operate the flights using smaller Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline listed 6 leased 737s including 5 737-800s and 1 737-700 registered in India that it plans to use on the flights. Using both passenger and cargo variants of the jets, SpiceJet plans to transition to its own fleet later.
Image: SpiceJet list of Boeing 737-700/800s for planned Delhi-New York flights (Source: US DOT Filing)
The distance between the two cities is around 11,734 kilometers (7291 miles), which airlines based in the US and India use larger, long-haul aircraft such as the Boeing 777, 787 on the route. The 737-700/800s have a range of just 6000km, with the 737-700 having a longer range of around 6,370km. SpiceJet's 737s have a capacity of 130-189 passengers.
With the possibility of using intermediate stops between India and the US, SpiceJet addressed this in the filling stating it seeks to operate passenger and cargo on flights "between any point or points in the territory of India (as the party that has designated the airline) and any point or points in the territory of the United States;and between any point or points in the territory of the United States and any point or points in a third country or countries, provided that, except with respect to cargo charters, such service constitutes part of a continuous operation, with or without a change of aircraft, that includes service to India for the purpose of carrying local traffic between India and the territory of the United States."
During the summer, SpiceJet reported it had secured flight rights to both the US and UK. Primarily operating Boeing 737-700/800 aircraft, the Gurugram, India-based airline has taken steps for future long-haul flights with the wet-lease of an Airbus A330-900neo from Portugese charter firm Hifly. The A330neo made its first flight with the carrier in August on a repatriation flight between Bengaluru and Amsterdam.