Spicing up air travel: SpiceJet plans more flights and hotel tie-ups

Pune: More take-offs on existing routes, package deals with the hospitality industry, and even an entry into the international markets, is what SpiceJet has on the cards for itself.

According to Kamal Hingorani, vice-president, marketing and planning, SpiceJet, the month of October could see the airline commencing flights from Pune to Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

Pune-Chennai would have a daily, direct flight, while it would fly Pune-Hyderabad on all days except Tuesday. The Pune-Ahmedabad flight would be weekly service every Tuesday.

Hingorani said that there would be four departures and arrivals. Inaugural fares are to be pegged at Rs1,699 for the Pune-Chennai route, and Rs799 for the Pune-Hyderabad route, plus taxes as applicable.

The Pune-Ahmedabad route was somewhat of a relaunch for the airline, as previously it had been a night slot that had been discontinued.

SpiceJet is also planning flights to Port Blair, which would originate from Chennai and Kolkata. Also on the anvil are plans to connect Pune with Kochi and Goa. These flights are expected to taxi onto the Pune runway, once it''s resurfacing is completed around March 2008.

Incidentally, SpiceJet has also reduced its Delhi-Mumbai flights from six to one.

Hingorani also said that SpiceJet was negotiating with hospitality companies in Goa and Kochi, for possible tie-ups with three- and four-star hotels. Presently, the airline was targeting only stand-alone hotels in these cities, and expects to launch these packages in about three months.

SpiceJet is awaiting government approval for going international. Hingorani added that the airline has identified West and South East Asia to as its first ports of call for its international operations. The South East Asian locations would probably be Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore while the foremost location in West Asia would be Dubai, according to the company.

Further, he added that SpiceJet would look at these destinations from tier II cities like Ahmedabad, Pune and Coimbatore, to directly address demand from these locations with point-to-point services. It would induct the Boeing 737-900 ER (extended range) aircraft into its fleet, with the first aircraft join the fleet in November 2007, followed by a second by the end of December.