Note: The analysis is purely based on the schedule posted in SpiceJet website as on 25th Feb.
Can a LCC have 2 different types of aircraft? This is one of the never-ending debate. There are always examples for both successful and unsuccessful airlines in the world. In the case of SpiceJet, it was a distress. Though the decision of selecting Q400 was not so bad, the worst decision was to buy it instead of leasing.
There were lots of rumors about getting rid of Q400 when Ajay Sing struck the deal with media baron Kalanithi Maran. But how is the biggest question as there are very fewer customers for it. The latest decision reported by Economic Times was to sell and lease back with the manufacturer itself. Whatever decision would be taken at the latter stage, they have gone ahead with Q400 for Summer’15. There is no major changes for summer. They have reduced frequency in some routes and increased in other.
Once the decision of continuing Q400 in the fleet is made, it should be utilized efficiently. Ever since the first Q400 VT-SUA landed in India on 26th Aug 2011, SpiceJet is clueless in utilizing it effectively. This can be clearly understood through majority of its rotation planned for Summer’15. Wait a sec…. There is still one more month for Summer and according to Financial Express, they are planning to add one more frequency in DEL-JAI, DEL-DED, DEL-DHM and BLR-IXE. Then again, these flights wont be adding significant block hours. The reason why they selected Q400 instead of well-experimented ATR was to fly atleast one additional flight in a day. Are they flying that additional flight? First, they selected a wrong aircraft. Then, they utilize it in a completely useless way. You will come to know when you read all the rotations mentioned below.
Out of 15 a/c, 5 will be based in DEL, 5 will be in MAA and 4 will be in HYD. Though HYD was made hub for Qs, now it hold less than that of MAA. 1 a/c might be used as spare and probably positioned at DEL or MAA.
Although the turn around time is mostly between 20 – 35 minutes, there are few long gaps between flights which spoils the block hours.
HYD based Qs
Lets start with HYD based Qs. 4 aircraft will be based at HYD. All these flights are numbered as 1xxx.
HYD – BLR – IXE – BLR – VGA – BLR – IXE – BLR – HYD
It has been scheduled for 9:10 block hours and an impressive 20 minute turn around at BLR except two instance where it has quite a long gap of around 2.5 hours (marked in red). With more than one month to go for Summer’15, they might add few more routes/frequencies with some minor adjustment in schedule.
HYD – TIR – HYD – RJA – HYD – TIR – HYD – TIR – HYD
This a/c is dedicated for TIR and RJA sector with 3x daily and a daily respectively from HYD. The late evening HYD – TIR – HYD will not be available on Tuesdays.
HYD – CJB – HYD – IXM – CMB – IXM – HYD – COK – HYD
HYD – CJB – HYD will not be available on Wednesdays and other sectors have minor schedule change
HYD – VGA – HYD – PNQ – GOI – PNQ – HYD – CJB – HYD
It has 50 min gap before flying to PNQ. That’s most probably because of slot issues in PNQ.
HYD – VGA – HYD is not operated on Sundays while HYD – PNQ – GOI – PNQ – HYD is not operated on Saturdays.
That’s about the four aircraft based at HYD. The average block hour for HYD based Qs is 10:30 hours a day which is not the efficient way to utilize it.
MAA based Qs
5 aircraft will be based at MAA. All these flights are numbered as 3xxx.
MAA – BLR – MAA – CCJ – BLR – CCJ – MAA – BLR – MAA
It covers just 2 destinations from the base, BLR and CCJ. CCJ is connected to BLR and MAA with a daily each while the latter both connected to each other with twice daily in this rotation. Apart from late evening MAA – BLR – MAA, the whole rotation is not available on Tuesdays.
This rotation has 2 long gaps (marked in red), but not long enough to be used for another flight.
MAA – CJB – MAA – COK – MLE – COK – MAA – CJB – MAA
Again, there is a big gap between arrival from CJB and departure to COK. That’s may be due to multiple reasons. First, there is already an early morning flight to COK. So, there won’t be any significant gap if it departs immediately after the arrival from CJB. Second, as it is linked with international destination, those slots and schedule might have forced them to have a long turn around.
MAA – TCR – MAA – TCR – MAA – BLR – HBX – BLR – MAA
This a/c does a back to back flight to TCR, but sitting idle in between for 2:25 hours. There might be some other route coming up in this gap, but as of now, it’s a complete waste.
MAA – BLR – HBX – BOM – HBX – BLR – MAA – VTZ – MAA
MAA – COK – MAA – GOI – HYD – GOI – MAA – COK – MAA – CMB – MAA
This is the most efficiently used aircraft with 15:45 block hours. However, the MAA – CMB – MAA rotation can be done by any of the MAA based a/c as all would be reached MAA before 23:00. Even without that flight, still this aircraft would hit 13:00 block hours which is the highest of all.
The average block time for MAA based aircraft is 11:15 hours which is much higher than HYD based aircraft.
DEL based Qs
DEL will be base for 5 aircraft. All these flights are numbered as 2xxx. All aircraft does back-to-base flights except 2x DEL – JLR – BOM and v.v. The destinations covered by back-to-base flights are ATQ, DED, IXC, JAI, UDR (all 2x daily) and DHM (1x daily). As I mentioned earlier, they have plans to increase frequency to JAI, DED and DHM. There are few gaps in rotation to accommodate these extra frequency. But as of now, the average block hour is just 09:37, the worst of all. Let’s hope they use it wisely to increase the usage.
DEL – VNS – DEL – UDR – DEL – ATQ – DEL – JAI – DEL
DEL – JAI – DEL – DED – DEL – DED – DEL – IXC – DEL
DEL – IXC – DEL – JLR – BOM – JLR – DEL
DEL – ATQ – DEL – DHM – DEL – VNS – DEL
DEL – JLR – BOM – JLR – DEL – UDR – DEL
Though they have plans for few more flights, the utilization of Q400 is not up to the expectation. The current rotations ensure that they are clueless about the prop. The overall average block hour is just 10:13 which is much lesser or equal to 9W’s ATR utilization. So far, the selection of Q400 is back fired heavily. Hope they make some immediate decision to either use it properly or get rid of it.
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