SpiceJet to start 6 new int’l flights; to expand fleet to 50
Chandigarh: Unveiling its plans to expand fleet size to 50 aircraft by year-end, low-cost airline SpiceJet Wednesday said it will start flights to six new foreign destinations, including Afghanistan, China and Hong Kong, by October-end.
"We will launch flights to Kabul (Afghanistan), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), China, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Male in Maldives. The services to these countries will start by October-end," company's CEO Neil Mills told reporters here.
The company is operating its international flight services to Dubai, Kathmandu and Colombo at present.
SpiceJet also announced expansion of its services in northern region by connecting Chandigarh, Amritsar and Srinagar to Delhi.
The carrier will also connect the cities of Dehradun and Indore to Delhi on its network in the coming days, he said, adding with this launch, SpiceJet would have presence at 37 domestic airports.
SpiceJet, which has an average ticket price of Rs 4,000 for domestic flights, is operating 280 flights every day with 36,000 passengers.
When asked about taxation on aviation, Mills rued that Indian aviation companies were facing "very large burden" of taxation, which was one of the factors that affected the industry.
He said domestic airlines have been paying 24 percent tax on fuel, which is much higher than 3-4 percent tax levied by other countries.
"As fuel is 50 percent of our total cost, 24 percent is a very significant number," he said.
He also said service tax levied on aviation was unusual. Indian Railways has been kept out of service tax, he noted.
"The recent service tax on aviation is very unusual..It was something which we were not expecting on aviation because service tax is not imposed on Railways," he said.
He asked why service tax is levied on Indian aviation companies when it was not levied on Railways.
On fleet expansion, Mills said that company's fleet size would be 50 by the end of this year by adding eight more aircraft.
SpiceJet, which claims 18.5 percent market share in domestic market, last month took delivery of five Q400 aircraft from Bombardier in Canada after getting financed through Export Development Corporation (EDC) of Canada.
These aircraft would serve mainly Tier II and III cities from Delhi.