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SpiceJet to operate flights between India and UK from September 1, under air bubble arrangement

After multiple failed attempts, budget carrier SpiceJet will finally be operating flights to the UK as it has secured slots to operate to London Heathrow from September 1, 2020.

“In continuation of our earlier communication dated July 24, 2020, informing designation for UK operations, we would like to further inform you that SpiceJet has secured slots at London Heathrow Airport to operate flights effective September 1, 2020,” the airline said in a BSE filing. “This is presently under the bubble arrangement between India and UK and effective up to end of summer schedule i.e. October 23, 2020. The same shall be extended basis the resumption of regular operations. The Company is also in advance discussion to secure slots for winter schedule for regular operations,” it added.

Last year, the Gurugram-based airline had applied for slots to both Heathrow and Manchester for daily services, but couldn’t secure a foothold in the then busy airports. But this year, with global airline air traffic drastically slashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian LCC’s dreams have finally manifested.

Earlier, the airline was allowed to fly on India-US routes by the Centre under the bilateral air bubble. Notably, SpiceJet is the first Indian budget carrier to operate services to the United States. Currently, only government-run Air India is operating flights on India-US routes. After the United States, UK is the second international destination for which the airline has been designated to operate as an Indian scheduled carrier.

Commenting on the airline’s London Heathrow slots, Ajay Singh, chairman and MD, SpiceJet said the slots will allow the airline to operate flights effective September 1, 2020. “London is one of the busiest long-haul destinations from India and this is a huge milestone for SpiceJet. Providing non-stop connectivity from India to different parts of the world, which in turn strengthens our airport hubs, is a dream that we have long cherished and this is a small step in that direction. The identical arrival/departure slots that we have secured at Heathrow should suit the convenience of our passengers perfectly,” Singh said.

As per updates, SpiceJet is planning to wet-lease either a Boeing 787 or an Airbus A-330 to operate the flights. Moreover, the airline is also planning to operate from multiple destinations from India on daily frequency.