Over four months after the Centre banned the operation of all international flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SpiceJet on Thursday (July 23) announced that it would operate flights to the United States, Hindustan Times reported. SpiceJet will be the first Indian budget carrier to operate services to the US.
In a regulatory filing, SpiceJet said it has been designated as an Indian scheduled carrier to operate on agreed services between the two countries. This has been done in terms of the Air Services Agreement between India and the United States, the filing said. Currently, only the national carrier Air India is operating flights on India-US routes.
SpiceJet Chairman & Managing Director Ajay Singh said the designation would help the airline in planning its international expansion in a much better and calibrated manner. “I have always maintained that there is an opportunity in every adversity and the present crisis situation has seen SpiceJet rise to the occasion and play a pivotal role,” he said.
Since March 22, all international commercial air passenger services are suspended in the wake of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave without pay and firings of employees in order to conserve cash flow.