Indian low-cost carrier Spicejet announced the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enter into a reciprocal code share agreement. While Emirates intends to leverage domestic connections of Spicejet from the cities where Emirates flies to in India, the airline also intends to codeshare to 6 destinations which are not services by Emirates but has connectivity from Spicejet to Dubai. These six are Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai and Calicut. Emirates will leverage Spicejet connectivity to Goa, Hubli, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam and Tuticorin.
Spicejet has been upping the game recently chose Amadeus as its global distribution partner in early March. This deal came at a time when Amadeus was slowly being pushed out of the market with Air India moving to Travelport and its limited presence with Jet Airways was already down which is immaterial now with the suspension of the airlines operations. Being on a GDS (Global Distribution System) gives Spicejet the reach in the market beyond India and though an expensive proposition, the reach more than negates the disadvantages for an airline like Spicejet which is expanding. Not all fare classes will be available on Amadeus, so the airline can control inventory in a way that higher classes which will have better absorption of GDS fees are on sale on Amadeus. While traditionally only Full-Service Carriers were selling inventory on GDS, over 100 LCCs or Hybrid carriers are now available on Amadeus.
On March 19th, Spicejet became the first Indian LCC to join IATA (International Air Transport Association) which represents close to 300 airlines worldwide. Both these instances were fair indicators that the airline is looking to expand with code-shares but that the first will be with Emirates came as a pleasant shocker.
Over a period of time with approvals from both governments and regulators, the code share will be active in phases and it is then that the extent of code-share will be known in terms of number of cities across the world that Spicejet passengers can connect to from the Dubai hub of Emirates. Spicejet operates at a different terminal at Dubai airport and the question of service differentiation between the two airlines which are poles apart will continue to impact the traveler decisions but the growing trend on LCC-FSC partnership will tide over this.
Spicejet is taking up planes from Jet Airways for its growth and plans to more than overcome the shortage of planes it is facing after the global grounding of B737 MAX planes. For both Spicejet and IndiGo – the next battle ground seems International with IndiGo having tied up with Turkish and Spicejet with Emirates.