SpiceJet to order 'significant' number of aircraft this year

SpiceJet  is looking at placing orders for a "significant" number of aircraft this financial year and negotiations are on with manufacturers, the no-frills carrier's chairman Ajay Singh said on Friday.

Without divulging details, he said the number of aircraft to be ordered will depend on the deal that it gets from the manufacturers.

"We are negotiating with manufacturers. We hope that the order can be placed in this financial year ... this will be for a significant number of aircraft. We still have to decide on the exact number and it would depend upon the deal that we get from the manufacturers," Singh said.

The carrier is also exploring the possibility of buying smaller aircraft.

"We are inducting six aircraft this month. This will be the largest induction by any airline in India in a single month and we are very hopeful that we will do well," Singh noted.

At present, SpiceJet has a fleet of at least 35 aircraft that includes Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400s.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi, organised by aircraft maker Boeing, he pitched for cost reduction in domestic aviation.

India is a very price-sensitive market and there is a need to bring down cost by rationalising taxation and reducing the cost qt airports as well as of ATF (aviation turbine fuel), he added.

"The most important is that if you bring down the cost of aviation we will be able to bring down our fares and many more middle class Indians can fly.

"Today, the total traffic is 70 million passengers in a year; now one passenger typically flies three times in a year. So if you divide, just 25 million Indians are flying today in a population of 1.2 billion people. That is a massive opportunity," he noted.

Singh, the original co-founder of the airline, took back the reins last December when SpiceJet ws facing turbulent times.

He acquired a 58.46 per cent stake from the then promoters Kalanithi Maran and Kal Airways Pvt Ltd.