will buy 20 Boeing 737 MAX
10 while converting 20 of their existing 737 MAX
8 order to 10, as it looks to carry more passengers between Indian metros where airports remain congested.
has launched the 737 MAX
10 as a bigger version of the 737 MAX
9 with increased seating of 230 in a single class configuration. The airline currently operates 35 Boeing
737-800 and 737-900 Next generation planes which have a seating capacity of 212 and 189, respectively.
If the order is finalised, SpiceJet
will also become the launch customer for the newest version of aircraft.
“The agreement, valued at approximately $4.74 billion at current list prices, is split evenly between 20 new orders for the 737 MAX
10 and conversions of 20 of the low-cost carrier’s 737 MAX
8 planes of its current order to 737 MAX
10s. The order will be posted to the Boeing
Orders & Deliveries website once finalised,” the airline said in a statement.
In January, SpiceJet
had agreed to buy 100 new 737 MAX
with an option of converting 50 into widebody version like the 787 Dreamliner. SpiceJet
plans to launch low-cost long-haul service between Delhi- Birmingham from coming winter schedule.
Indian airlines looking to take advantage of the growing traffic are increasingly deploying bigger planes among large metros. SpiceJet’s low-cost rival IndiGo has decided to convert its 430 A320 neo order to 20 A321 neo
and is looking for more. The A320neo accommodates as many as 189 passengers, while the A321neo carries as many as 240.
“The newest version of the 737, which will enable us to maximise revenue on our dense routes while having a lower unit seat cost,” said Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet.
“With the introduction of our 737 MAXs next year, we will be able to further expand our network, while keeping our costs low for our customers.”
Full-service carrier Jet Airways and Air India have deployed widebody aircraft like Boeing
Dreamliner 787s, and Airbus A330s to cope with higher traffic and slot constraints at some airports that limit the number of flights. Jet Airways now connects all four major Indian airports with the A330 planes which have 254 seats, including 18 business class seats.
Major Indian airports are on the verge of saturation and are unable to provide new slots to airlines. While Mumbai airport is not issuing any new slots; at Delhi airport, airlines are not getting slots during peak hours. The airport’s Terminal 1, used by low-cost airlines, has reached its annual capacity of 18 million passengers a year and is choked during peak hours.
The Bengaluru airport, built to handle 20 million passengers a year, serviced nearly 19 million in 2015. Hyderabad airport, built for 12 million passengers a year, has already reached capacity. “It makes sense for airlines to deploy bigger planes thus utilising existing slots to carry more passengers,” a senior Jet Airways official said.