Now that India has re-certified the 737 MAX to fly through its air space, SpiceJet is going big on Boeing’s most efficient narrowbody. The Indian budget carrier announced at the end of August that it would be adding more MAXs to the fleet through deals with multiple lessors. Let’s take a look at who’s involved and what’s on the table.
A settlement with Avolon and CDB Aviation
Announced on August 26th, shortly after news of India re-certifying the MAX, SpiceJet said it had “entered into a settlement” with Avolon, a major lessor of MAX aircraft. This, the SpiceJet says, paves the way “for the airline’s 737 MAX aircraft to start to return to service.” SpiceJet adds that it expects to start operations of MAX aircraft around the end of this month, subject to regulatory approvals.
“I am delighted to share that our 737 MAXs will be back in the air soon. As India emerges from Covid and air traffic picks up again, the MAX aircraft will play a major role in our future expansion. With a better and a more efficient fleet back in operation we expect a significant reduction in our operating costs improving our bottom line.” -Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet
Adding more detail to SpiceJet’s plans, BusinessToday.In discovered a regulatory filing that noted the airline had agreed on a settlement with CDB Aviation, another major lessor of MAX aircraft.
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The SpiceJet MAX fleet
BusinessToday.In noted that at the time of the MAX grounding in March of 2019, SpiceJet had about 13 of the MAX 8 variant. From “Wasabi” to “Mint” and “Jalapeño,” all jets have been named with different spices, in accordance with the overall theme of the budget carrier. All of these aircraft are configured with 189 seats in a single-class, all-economy layout.
With two full years spent on the ground now, this fleet of 13 jets has an average age of just under three years.
According to Planespotters.net, the airline has at least 15 “future” 737 MAX 8 aircraft. For most of these jets, a registration number has already been assigned. The registrations of all future MAX jets begin with “VT-M.” This includes VT-MBA and VT-MBB, as well as VT-MXL through VT-MXO.
Other registrations include XQ, XR, XW, XY, and XZ. Given the age of these jets (around two years), we would assume that these were already ordered by the carrier but not delivered before the grounding. Interestingly, several future SpiceJet 737 MAX 8s still without registrations are listed as originally being ordered by Jet Airways.
ch-aviation, on the other hand, lists a whopping 133 737 MAXs on order. However, only two jets on the long list have registrations, VT-MXO and VT-MXW. This website’s fleet database also shows the specific MSN (Manufacturer Serial Numbers) of the future SpiceJet 737 MAXs. One batch ranges from MSN 60647 through 60679, with about six numbers missing within. Another large batch ranges from MSN 64510 sequentially through 64604.
With SpiceJet betting big on the 737 MAX, it’s set to become the Indian equivalent of Ryanair. What do you think of this big investment? Let us know in the comments.