Spicejet – the country’s second largest airline by domestic market share is increasing flights from one of its focus cities – Jaipur. The airline will add more monopoly routes in its network, inline with what it has been doing in recent past.
The airline will return to the Delhi – Jaipur segment where it will compete with Air India and IndiGo. The airline will operate flights between Jaipur – Udaipur, Jaipur – Dehradun and Jaipur – Amritsar, all of which would be monopoly routes for the airline.
The airline will double frequency between Jaipur and Surat with the new frequency extending to Goa, offering a one way connection between Jaipur and Goa and competing with IndiGo on the Surat – Goa sector. All the flights will be operated by the Q400 turboprop aircraft.
In the last financial year, Jaipur was the 13th busiest airport in the country and Spicejet is a major operator out of Jaipur. The airline was instrumental in launching some of the routes for the very first time from Jaipur – which includes non-stop flights to Patna, Guwahati and Pune. Not all of them are operational today and not all of them remain monopoly and IndiGo and GoAir started making their mark slowly in the market, with IndiGo being the largest operator at Jaipur – like at most other airports across the country. Jaipur is the tenth most populous city in the country.
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Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan is one of the three destinations known as the tourist triangle, with the other two being Agra and Delhi. The increase in frequency and flights comes as a surprise since the typical tourist or high season for the destination is the winter season. The airline is starting flights when the weather as well as the season is transitioning to Summer – a relatively lower traffic season in the hot desert state.
While Rajasthan as a whole is a seasonal market, Jaipur being the state capital and also the business powerhouse of the state sees lesser variations in other months. Jaipur has crossed 60% of pre-COVID19 Air Traffic Movements but is yet to reach that number on the passenger front.
The most surprising part has been the announcement being just a few days ahead of the start of the sector. Airlines typically budget a larger lead time to market and sell the flights so that adequate loads can be built up. In this case, the airline informed about the new flights less than five days to the start for some of the flights!
Spicejet has in the past started a lot of flights under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) only to pull out later. Will these flights sustain competition and market dynamics or will they be part of another hit and run operation where the airline can potentially make money and vacate and look for other markets when there is pricing pressure? Time will tell.