The future now “looks secure” for SpiceJet, its Chief Operating Officer Sanjiv Kapoor has said as the airline is coming out of the “legacy issues” that led the company to a “difficult period”.
Writing in SpiceJet’s in-flight magazine, Kapoor said that the airline has gone through a “very challenging time” over the last two months “after a very difficult last couple of years”.
“The good news is that the company is, at the time of this writing, in the process of changing hands with the return to the airline of co-founder Ajay Singh as promoter, and along with that comes recapitalisation of the airline. The future now looks secure,” Kapoor said.
He said that the airline plans to “grow back as soon as possible to the size and scale” it had achieved in the middle of 2014.
Last year, he said, the airline had grown to “become the No 2 airline for domestic air travel in terms of passengers flown, with 21 per cent market share, before legacy issues caught up with us and led to a difficult period for the company”.
Kapoor felt that the recovery of SpiceJet is good for the entire travel industry and the country at large.
The airline’s network is one of the widest in India, providing connectivity to smaller cities that other airlines do not fly to, he said, adding that it has been the driving force behind demand stimulation and strong market growth.
He also thanked the Civil Aviation Ministry for its efforts to help the airline to get back on its feet by getting “some ‘breathing room’ from creditors as we restructure, in the absence of any such structured mechanism in India for this”.
“I do want to emphasise that, contrary to media reports, this was not a ‘bailout’: there was no funding of any kind involved from the government or taxpayer funds; it was simply a few weeks of credit based on standard commercial terms, for which we are extremely appreciative,” he wrote.
The airline is now on a restructuring path and Singh has agreed to acquire 58.46 per cent stake from Kalanidhi Maran as part of the revival plan.
In the past couple of months, SpiceJet had curtailed its services to 230 daily flights per day from a peak of around 345 flights.