SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 Max back in operations
New Delhi, November 24, 2021
Low-cost carrier SpiceJet said on Tuesday that its Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the backbone of its passenger aircraft fleet, were back in operations after a gap of around two and a half years.
The airline, which is the only operator of the 737 Max in the country, had signed a $22 billion deal with Boeing for up to 205 aircraft in 2017 and has 13 of these planes in its fleet at present.
SpiceJet will be deploying these aircraft on both domestic as well as international routes, a press release from the airline said.
The Government had, on August 27, allowed the restart of Boeing 737 Max operations in the country, rescinding earlier orders that had grounded the aircraft after two fatal accidents involving the planes in Ethiopia in March 2019 and Indonesia in October 2018.
The Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered the grounding of the aircraft on March 13, 2019, joining countries worldwide which had also prohibited the operations of the B737 Max after the two crashes because of safety concerns.
SpiceJet celebrated the return to service of the 737 Max with a special flight from New Delhi to Gwalior on Tuesday with Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh, President, Boeing India, Salil Gupte, senior aviation ministry officials and media persons on board.
Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet said, “I am extremely excited to see the 737 Max, the mainstay of our fleet, back into operations. The return of the Max will be a game-changer for SpiceJet and allow us to offer a vastly superior flying experience to our passengers. After the intense scrutiny this aircraft has gone through, I can say with full confidence that it’s the safest aircraft to fly.”
“The return of the MAX comes at the perfect time for SpiceJet. With passenger traffic picking up and the government allowing airlines to operate at full capacity, our new planes will allow us to expand our network ahead of the busy travel season and play a major role in our future expansion. With significant cost saving capabilities, we expect a significant reduction in our operating costs improving our bottom line.
“The 737 MAX is a key part of SpiceJet’s sustainability focus and will dramatically reduce noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Passengers will benefit from a large number of premium seats and broadband internet that we plan to offer on board," he said.
SpiceJet’s Max aircraft are equipped with Satcom that will enable the airline to offer internet on board.
Since the US FAA's un-grounding in November 2020, more than 175 out of 195 global regulators have opened their airspace to the 737 Max. More than 32 airlines have returned their fleets to service and those airlines have safely flown over 235,000 commercial flights, totalling more than 575,000 flight hours.
The Max 8 can fly up to 3,500 nautical miles which is approximately 19% more than 737-800, enabling the airline to fly to newer destinations. The 737 Max is the most environmental friendly aircraft. It uses up to 20% less fuel than older 737s. The new CFM Leap engine, made from ultra-light and ultra-strong carbon blades, increases fuel efficiency of the Max by 12%, the all-new advanced technology winglet increases fuel efficiency by 1.8% and the new tailcone by another 1%. The new jet has 40% lesser noise footprint translating into a quieter and silent cabin. The nitrogen emissions of 737 Max have been reduced by 50%, the release said.
For SpiceJet’s full fleet of up to 205 airplanes, the Max will emit up to 750,000 fewer metric tons of CO2 and save up to 240,000 metric tons of fuel per year, which translates to more than $317 million in cost savings annually. Lower cost and lesser days out of service will result in up to $4 million savings it said.
The Boeing 737 Max can fly non-stop to Singapore, Doha, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Kuala Lumpur, Tehran, Salalah, Kunming (China), Krabi, Moscow, Istanbul among other international destinations from various international airports in India. With one stop, the aircraft can easily fly up to Finland, Norway, Morocco, London and Amsterdam.
"SpiceJet’s 737 MAX 8 comes with all-new interiors. Inspired by the 787 Dreamliner’s advanced aesthetics, the cabin design promises to redefine travellers’ experience. Instead of shelf-type stow compartments bordering the aisle, the 737 Boeing Sky Interior features stow bins that tuck up and are out of the way when closed. This results in a roomier, more open in-flight environment with unobstructed views, whether passengers are standing or seated," the release said.