The government should look at providing adequate incentives to Indian carriers for operating long haul overseas flights, SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh today said as the no-frills airline expects to induct around 15 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes by March 2019.
At a time when the budget carrier has embarked on ambitious expansion plans, Singh also stressed that it is "completely agnostic" about the routes it flies as long as they are profitable.
"The induction of Boeing 737 MAX gives us some additional range and the plane can fly about an hour longer than the existing version," he said on the sidelines of the aviation event 'Wings India 2018' here.
"By March next year, we expect to induct around 15 Boeing 737 Max 8 (aircraft)," Singh, who is also the airline's Managing Director, said.
By having MAX planes, the cost of operations goes down, he said, adding that while fuel cost would reduce by 15 per cent, engineering and maintenance expenses would fall by 10-15 per cent per plane.
Singh also pitched for having a scheme similar to UDAN in order to provide incentives to domestic carriers to fly overseas.
Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) seeks to connect unserved and under-served domestic airports as well as make flying more affordable.
"Our suggestion is that the government must first try and develop a scheme around as much as it developed UDAN. There was a national priority to connect small towns and use unutilised airports. Therefore UDAN was envisaged for this purpose.
"Now, it is important that Indian carriers carry Indian passengers to long haul destinations from Indian airports to be used as international hubs," he noted.
While noting that a scheme should be thought about which lowers the cost, Singh said, "We also need to look at creating adequate incentives for Indian carriers to fly those long haul routes and do it profitably. So I think we need to have dialogues with the government... lets come up with the plan".
According to him, the question is whether Indian carriers can operate long haul flights economically. "That is some thing we are exploring. All the Indian carriers are exploring that. And at some point it has to work," he added.
Flights to Western Europe or perhaps US can be considered as long haul ones.
About seaplanes, Singh said the government is still formulating rules for such aircraft.
Last year, the carrier had announced plans to buy more than 100 amphibian planes.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)