SpiceJet clarifies reports

SpiceJet transforming its new leadership, innovative, best fares prices, onboard experience, and delivers service.

July 31, 2014 4:35 IST | India Infoline News Service
Over the last two or three days, there have been a number of media articles relating to SpiceJet, many of which are sensational and speculative in nature. While we normally prefer not to respond to such articles, we are making an exception this time given the nature of the coverage that is occurring, coverage that is obscuring some very positive achievements made by SpiceJet in recent months.

The first set of articles was a positive one relating to SpiceJet’s improved Load Factor and Market share in June 2014. Of the four largest domestic airlines, SpiceJet had the highest load factor (i.e. the fullest flights) of 81.4%, and increased its market share to 19% in the month, making it the second largest single-branded domestic airline in India by passengers carried.

The second set of articles relate to the DGCA instruction to SpiceJet to refund meal charges and airfares to passengers that were on a specific delayed flight in June, for failing to provide complementary refreshments as per the stipulated requirements. SpiceJet acknowledges it was unable to provide refreshments to all passengers at the 2 hour point due to the unusual nature of the delay. The delay occurred due to a technical snag that was encountered after the aircraft had left the gate with all passengers on board. SpiceJet has a standard policy and practice of serving complementary refreshments on the ground at the airport terminal to all passengers if a delay is expected to approach two hours, but like most budget airlines, carries only a limited quantity of food and beverages on board. We were therefore unable at short notice to provide food for everyone. However as a result of this incident, we have adjusted our processes for handling such situations in the future. We would like to further clarify that that passengers were offered complementary refreshments once the flight finally departed after the aircraft was swapped to another aircraft.

The third set of articles refers to TDS and service tax issues. These matters are privileged and cannot be discussed with the media or third parties. We are aware of our obligations under the applicable law and are in discussions with the appropriate statutory authorities on resolving any issues.

Finally, we would like to note that the average age of SpiceJet aircraft is just 4.75 years, making it one of the youngest fleets in the aviation industry for mid-to-large sized airlines. Like all other airlines, we are subject to regular and ongoing audits by DGCA from time to time, and we are fully compliant with all safety regulations with an impeccable safety record since the time we started operations in May 2005. We would further like to note that all of our aircraft, other than 2 that are in regularly scheduled C-checks (one Boeing, one Q400) and one Q400 that is undergoing repairs after a bird hit, are operational, and flying in daily service. It is the high utilization of our modern fleet of Boeing 737-800NG and Bombardier Q400 aircraft that has enabled us to gain market share in June.

SpiceJet is in the process of transforming itself completely under new leadership, after one of the most challenging years in its history. It is focused on running an on-time, innovative, and operationally top class airline that offers customers the best fares and onboard experience, and delivers service with warmth and care. Its performance trends over the last several months, as exemplified by the June passenger traffic data and customer feedback, are very encouraging. We intend to see this transformation through to completion, and we have a plan to address the remaining legacy issues and challenges in the coming weeks and months.

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