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Wednesday, 17 June, 2020, 12 : 19 PM [IST]

SpiceJet looks at Oct-Nov to receive Boeing MAX

The Boeing MAX in the SpiceJet fleet could return to service later this year, Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet said on Tuesday evening. The MAX was grounded globally since March 2019. SpiceJet is the only existing carrier to have ordered and operated the Boeing MAX in India.

“We hope they can be back soon. But you know my expectation is it is still a few months away. They are telling us August. But I would think it is more like October-November,” the airline’s CMD said, at a webinar organised by GMR on ‘Reposing the faith in flying’.

In response to another question, Singh said he was hopeful that SpiceJet will be able to get back by July this year at least 40 per cent of the flights that it operated before the pandemic struck.

Addressing the webinar, Hardeep Puri, Minister for Civil Aviation said the government will “severely” ramp up the flights being operated under the Vande Bharat programme. Vande Bharat flights are being operated by Air India and at least four private airlines Vistara, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air. The Minister indicated that foreign airlines have operated over 800 flights, evacuating over 200,000 people, including Qatar Airways operating 81 flights; KLM (68 flights); Kuwait Airways (41 flights); British Airways (39 flights) and flydubai (38 flights).

“This is almost double of what Air India has operated,” the Minister said.

In response to when India will allow foreign commercial flights, the Minister said this is something that will depend on a lot of factors, including how the virus spreads and the rules for travel stipulated by various countries.

The Minister said about 12 lakh passengers have travelled in 13,700 flights since domestic airlines restarted operations 22 days ago. Domestic flying restarted in a limited way on May 25 after a gap of two months

 
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