Budget carrier SpiceJet expects to address all its legacy issues, including those related to aircraft costs, in the next 2-3 quarters after tackling the low-hanging ones, its chief Ajay Singh has said.
SpiceJet, which has remained profitable for four straight quarters, also plans to order over 100 aircraft in the current financial year and ramp up its headcount in tune with its expansion plans.
“We have addressed the low-hanging issues. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done but now there is a lot of confidence among partners, vendors…,” Singh told PTI.
“We will take another two to three quarters (before addressing all these issues),” he said in response to queries on dealing with legacy issues at the airline.
Singh took over the reins of SpiceJet from the Marans last year when the carrier was on the verge of closure.
Under Singh’s stewardship, there has been a marked improvement in the overall performance of the airline.
Recording its highest ever profit number, SpiceJet posted a net profit of Rs 238.40 crore for the three-month period ended December 2015.
Besides, the no-frills carrier has managed to reduce its debt burden by Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 800 crore.
When Singh took over the reins early last year, the debt burden was around Rs 2,000 crore.
As part of ambitious expansion plans, SpiceJet is in the process of inducting more planes as well as increasing headcount.
The carrier is evaluating various options with respect to ordering new aircraft, Singh said.
“We have received proposals from Airbus and Boeing… We have undertaken an extensive process of evaluation with regard to placing new aircraft orders,” he said.
On the number of planes that would be purchased, Singh said it could be more than 100.
“The order is likely to be expected to be placed in this financial year itself but a final decision is yet to be taken,” said Singh, who is the airline’s chairman and managing director.
Currently, SpiceJet has a fleet of 25 Boeing 737s, 14 Bombardier Q-400s and two Airbus A320s.
“We are preparing ourselves (for expansion). The process for hiring pilots and cabin crew has already started,” Singh said.
The carrier has a headcount of about 4,000 people, including 350 pilots.