Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has launched two new routes to Dubai, bringing the number of Indian cities it connects with the emirate on a daily basis to 10.
The latest cities to be connected to Dubai are Jaipur and Hyderabad, which will be operated by a Boeing 737 800 aircraft.
Shilpa Bhatia, senior VP commercial, SpiceJet, said: “We see huge potential, especially from non-metro cities such as Jaipur, waiting to be unlocked and over the years we have also witnessed a resurgence in demand on the Hyderabad-Dubai route from business and leisure travellers alike. Dubai is a key market in increasing our footprint across the Middle East and with these flight launches we aim to provide our customers with better and more convenient travel options.”
The routes demonstrate the strong links between the two markets and in November SpiceJet’s chairman Ajay Singh revealed a number of Gulf carriers have expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in the Indian budget airline.
“Some of the Gulf airlines have expressed an interest in SpiceJet as we have come back into the market, but this is not the right time to be diluting the equity,” Singh was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
“There is some dialogue which is ongoing and we continue to explore other types of relationships we could have.”
In 2013, reports in India claimed Dubai’s Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Kuwait Airways had all held talks with SpiceJet about a possible stake sale.
The same year, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark admitted in an interview the Dubai carrier had looked into the possibility of investing in India’s aviation sector. “I have never said no. Of course, we have looked at this. The Indian aviation market is a big cake and Etihad had got a piece, but at least three quarters of the cake is still there, uneaten,” he told Business Line.
SpiceJet is expanding vigorously at the moment and late last year it announced it plans to order more than 150 planes in the current financial year. "We are in the process of placing a large aircraft order. The airline will order in excess of 150 planes - we hope to do that in this financial year," Singh said.