SpiceJet launches dedicated cargo service, inducts first freighter (Lead)

New Delhi : Budget airline SpiceJet on Monday launched a dedicated air cargo service on domestic and international routes.

The separate division within the company has been christened "SpiceXpress" which will commence operations on the airline's first freighter aircraft which was inducted here from September 18, 2018. "We are very confident that there is a significant space for dedicated air freighter in the Indian market. The economy is growing at 8 per cent and we are having an e-commerce boom in this country," SpiceJet's Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh told reporters here at the induction of the freighter aircraft, a Boeing 737-700. "In our cargo network we have tied up close to 1,800 companies. There is no shortage of demand... We are adding four aircraft, this is first one we will be adding another three...." Currently, the country has only five freighter aircraft while the air cargo traffic in India is expected to grow by 60 per cent in the next five years. "The freighter aircraft will be acquired on pure operating leases and haven't incurred any major CAPEX, while the ground operations will be either self-handled by the existing Spicejet ground infrastructure or shall be outsourced till we develop a certain scale of operations," he said. The current cargo capacity of SpiceJet's existing fleet is about 500 tonnes per day and this would go up to 900 tonne a day in a phased manner with the addition of four freighters by March 2019. At present, SpiceJet offers cargo capacity on its passenger aircraft fleet of 36 Boeing-737s and 22 Bombardier Q400s operating across 47 domestic and 7 international destinations. "The service will address time and temperature sensitive shipments across verticals, like letters and credit cards under banking; ad blood, organs and medicines under pharma. Other shipments would include automobiles, apparel, consumer electronics, e-commerce and live animals," the airline said in a statement. Besides, the airline will also ship perishables like farm fresh fruits and vegetables to the Middle East.