Budget carrier SpiceJet on Thursday said it has been designated as the "Indian scheduled carrier," to operate flights to the US. SpiceJet would be the first Indian budget carrier to operate services to the United States. Currently, only the national carrier Air India is operating flights on India-US routes.
In a regulatory filing SpiceJet said it has been designated as an Indian scheduled carrier to operate on agreed services between the two countries. The designation allows for the international expansion of the airline. However, commence dates or destinations have not been revealed.
This has been done in terms of the Air Services Agreement between India and the United States, the filing said.
All international commercial air passenger services have been suspended since March 22, in the wake of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said the designation as an Indian scheduled carrier to operate between India and the US would help the airline in planning its international expansion in a much better and calibrated manner.
"This designation would help us plan for our international expansion in a much better and calibrated manner. I have always maintained that there is an opportunity in every adversity and the present crisis situation has seen SpiceJet rise to the occasion and play a pivotal role."
According to Singh, from operating over 4,300 cargo flights to carrying over 24,000 tonnes of cargo to operating over 400 charter flights to bring back thousands of stranded Indian nationals back home, SpiceJet has worked non-stop during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Shares of SpiceJet were trading at Rs 49.90, up 5.16 per cent over its previous close on the BSE.
Last week, Indiaâ€™s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri announced that individual bilateral â€˜air bubblesâ€™ have been established with France and the US, and airlines of countries in the pact will be allowed to operate international flights. The minister had added that a similar arrangement will soon be done with Germany and the UK.
Air France will be operating 28 flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris from July 18 to August 1, the minister said at a press conference, adding that American carrier United Airlines will be flying 18 flights between India and the US from July 17 to July 31.
(With agency inputs)