SpiceJet reported a net loss of around US$80 million (INR 593.4 crore) in the first quarter of FY21 (April to June 2020) as flight operations were suspended for the most part due to the nationwide lockdown.
Operating revenue flopped 83 percent to around US$70 million (Rs 514.7 crore) compared to the same period in 2019, as passenger demand remain subdued.
Whilst Covid-19 affected passenger numbers, the carrier doubled down on its cargo operations using its dedicated fleet of freighters and cargo-converted passenger planes.
Operating on both domestic and international routes, SpiceJet’s cargo revenue soared 144 percent year on year to US$32 million (Rs 2,363.94 million) for the April to June period.
Its dedicated fleet of 13 cargo aircraft, including two wide-body planes, allowed the carrier to operate long-haul cargo flights to Europe, as well as cargo services to African and CIS countries.
14 new cargo flights to north east India
SpiceJet has also launched 14 dedicated cargo flights connecting north east India using its Bombardier Q400 freighters to move perishables, pharmaceuticals and express cargo.
The airline’s cargo network now spans over 63 domestic and 44 international destinations.
SpiceJet recorded 7,000 cargo flights (3,000 international) and 50,000 tonnes since the nationwide lockdown began on 25 March, emerging as India’s top air cargo airline.
On 7 April, SpiceJet operated India’s first cargo-on-seat flight carrying vital supplies in passenger cabin and belly space. Since then, the airline has been regularly deploying its B737 and Q400 passenger aircraft to carry cargo in the cabin.
To boost passenger traffic, the airline launched a zero-cancellation policy with Liberty General Insurance for domestic travellers who book ahead of schedule.