Low-cost carrier Spicejet plans to induct fifty Boeing 737 Max aircraft to its fleet by December, said chairman and managing director Ajay Singh on Tuesday. He added that two 737 Max planes out of the total 13 planes in its fleet had commenced operations from Sunday.
The LCC chairman informed that another four Max aircraft were lying in the Boeing facility for Spicejet. The delivery of these four new Max planes will begin on December 10, he stated.
"The idea is to completely replace our existing NG fleet (older version of 737 planes) in the coming months...The idea is to get 50 Max aircraft in 2022 and 2023. Out of the 50 Max planes, 15-20 will be replacement of NG aircraft and the remaining would be a new addition to the fleet," he said.
Singh informed that Boeing had compensated them for the grounding in both cash and kind.
On November 17, the airline had entered into a settlement agreement with airplane maker Boeing with regards to the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft. In a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company stated that Boeing has agreed to settle outstanding claims and provide for certain accommodations.
Spicejet added that the settlement paves the way for induction of the revamped MAX aircraft into its fleet. Additionally, ensuring the resumption of new aircraft deliveries of 155 MAX aircraft. In its second-quarter results, the company had mentioned that thirteen of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft continued to be grounded. It expected the aircraft to resume flying from the third quarter of the current financial year.
The Indian Government had banned the 737 Max from flying in March 2019 after the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crash - both involving Boeing 737 Max. 346 people had lost their lives in the two crashes which took place within five months of unveiling the aircraft.
In August, this year, the aircraft was allowed to fly again. Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its order had stated that more than 17 regulators had permitted the airplane to fly again. This was after Boeing undertook corrective measures after being grounded in several countries
On November 16, institutional investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air ordered 72 Boeing 737 Max Airplanes. The deal is valued at $9 billion. The order includes two variants of the 737 MAX line-up, namely, the 737-8 and the high capacity 737-8-200.
Spicejet and Akasa Air are the only airline companies in India to have inducted the 737 MAX aircraft into their fleet.