No-frills carrier Spicejet, that has hiked excess baggage rates, today said the charges would help low-cost carriers like it remain competitive in the market. The airline, however, emphasised that it has kept reasonable amount of luggage free for passengers. The Gurgaon-based airline also said that it would expand its services on new as well as existing domestic and international routes when the company would start getting delivery of new planes from Boeing and Bombardier. “Until and unless we do that, we would not be able to provide lucrative fares,” SpiceJet Chief Marketing Officer Debojo Maharshi told PTI when asked about excess baggage charges. “It’s important, we have to balance and run the airline in optimally viable fare, and to achieve that these are some commercial numbers which we would have to keep,” Maharshi said.
Last week, the Delhi High Court had set aside the Rs 100 per kg fee fixed by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for excess checked-in baggage of 15-20 kg on private airlines against their earlier rates ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 350. “While we take care that the passengers revenue should be the minimum and should make more Indian fly and we give a reasonable amount of luggage free,” he said, adding on the top if someone has additional luggage, he can fly by paying more.
On being asked that Air India is still giving full checked-in baggage up to 23 kg, he said: “It is a full service carrier and their fares and luggage limits are much more higher. Their operating guidelines are different from ours.” Besides SpiceJet is also trying to increase its ancillary revenues from non-flying activities. “We want to increase our ancillary revenues, while we want to keep Pax Revenue (passenger) as commercially viable as we can,” Maharshi said. Currently, ancillary revenue contributes 16 per cent of SpiceJet’s total revenue, he added. “The idea is to increase it as much we can. We are coming with new initiatives to increase the ancillary revenue,” Maharshi said. Over expansion of service network, he said that SpiceJet would add more wings after it get deliveries from Boeing and Bombardier, which would take to new domestic and international destinations. “We have a large fleet, which is coming as we have firm orders from Boeing Aircrafts. We have also placed firm order of 25 aircrafts from Bombardier mainly used for regional connectivity… we would fly to various international destinations. we would increase that,” he added.
On being asked as whether SpiceJet would rope in any personality to endorse, he said: “As such, we never had any brand ambassador but we do have plans to associate with couple of celebrities for special causes.” However, Maharshi also added that as such, SpiceJet does not have any plans for now. Over government’s push for regional connectivity, he said that it was a good initiative and SpiceJet has supported it. “SpiceJet is one of the first airlines to participate in it. We are already operating under few routes under it and every month we are adding more routes,” he said. Spicejet today announced an initiative with Prega News, the pregnancy detection kit from Mankind Pharma, under which it would provide special facilities to pregnant women fliers. As part of this initiative, a SpiceJet aircraft Boeing 737-800 Series has been fully body wrapped with Prega News branding.