NEW DELHI (TIP): SpiceJet’s fall from grace has led the cash registers ringing for other Indian carriers. Troubles at Kalanithi Maran-owned low cost carrier (LCC) started from mid-November when leasers started repossessing aircraft, leading to reduction of flights. As SpiceJet’s slashed its schedule, passengers of its cancelled flights made a beeline for other carriers — mainly IndiGo and Jet.

According to directorate general of civil aviation ( DGCA) data, market shares of IndiGo and Jet shot up from October (when SpiceJet was flying its entire fleet) to November (see graph). Wadia Group’s GoAir also gained and carried more flyers. State-owned Air India, which is being kept alive by pumping in thousands of crores of tax-payers’ money, could not capitalize on the situation. It actually saw its market share drop by two percentage points from October to November. AI (domestic) even pipped SpiceJet in terms of numbers of passengers being affected by flight cancellations. As many as 4,242 AI passengers had seen their flights cancelled, while the figure for SpiceJet was 3,290. And, 27,200 AI (domestic) flyers faced delays of over two hours. “The focus may be on SpiceJet but AI should be the real worry for the government,” said an official.

Meanwhile on December 18, sources said SpiceJet operated over 140 flights by evening and had six cancellations by then— out of its truncated schedule of 230 daily flights. Oil companies have put SpiceJet on cash-and-carry and the LCC is paying cash to get fuel.

Full service carriers, Jet and AI, are now planning to fill in the void created by SpiceJet’s flight reduction. They are both planning to deploy wide body aircraft on domestic routes. AI has three Boeing 777-200 (long range) which it will lease out by next summer. It plans to utilize these three twin aisle planes on domestic sector till then.

Jet on December 18 introduced 12 additional daily flights on domestic routes. It will deploy wide body Airbus A-330 on routes like Delhi-Bengaluru-Delhi and Delhi-Chennai-Delhi from next Tuesday to January 29, 2015.

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