India’s one of the key players in the aviation sector, the low-cost carrier SpiceJet is going to receive two Boeing 777s from the American aircraft manufacturer as compensation for the 13 Boeing 737 MAX being grounded for a period of 19 months. SpiceJet has already initiated the process of hiring pilots for the upcoming aircraft and it will be used by the airline as long-haul passenger flights or cargo flights depending on the ongoing Covid scenario. Until last week it was speculated that the carrier will use the flight for long-haul flights to North America which is in demand, however, the new Omicron variant of covid-19 may turn things around.
Long-Haul Passenger Flights or Cargo Flights?
The Chief Managing Director for SpiceJet, Ajay Singh has said in a statement that the airline is looking for a long-haul passenger’s flight. He further informed that the two flights that the airline is going to receive will not be brand new but rather be two Boeing 777 extended-range (ER). He added that the national flag carrier Air India has been running ER flights to the east coast of North America for a long time now.
However, Boeing has refrained from making any comments on the compensation deal finalized with SpiceJet because of the 13 grounded 737 MAX carriers. Sources have said that in the current situation that anything could happen and only time will tell what the flights be used for when the deal pans out. The Omicron variant has changed the scenario as WHO has already warned against the new variant, so it is also likely that the B777s could be used as cargo flights.
SpiceJet has been wet-leasing wide-body aircraft during the pandemic which means that the airline was hiring flights with the operating crew to run as charters, majorly for cargo but also as passenger flights. This crew wasn’t part of the airline as they were hired and paid to peruse.