Fast-growing Indian carrier SpiceJet is increasing fleet capacity by more than 2,000 seats with the planned $700 million conversion of options held on 10 Boeing 737-800s, of which five will be taken as 215-passenger -900ERs. The aircraft, which will be delivered over two years beginning October next year, will bring SpiceJet’s fleet to at least 15 aircraft. In addition, the low-cost operator has taken options on a further 10.
SpiceJet currently is flying five 737s leased until at least 2008 and has just received from Boeing the first of four aircraft to be delivered this year, said board director Ajay Singh. In 2007, the airline will add six previously ordered -800s from the factory and the first two optioned 737-900ERs, plus two or three aircraft leased from elsewhere. The newly optioned aircraft will be delivered after current deliveries are completed in 2009.
Singh said that SpiceJet has enjoyed 85-percent-plus passenger load factors in every month since operations began in May last year. He claimed passenger growth had been equivalent to 30 percent a year.
SpiceJet officials say they could be early lease customers for the newly announced Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, which includes aviation finance among its planned activities, given that both companies have partly common ownership through stakes in each held by Arab private equity fund Istithmar.