India’s SpiceJet launches freighter business with new Kabul deal
INDIAN low-cost passenger carrier SpiceJet’s ambitious plans to get a dedicated freighter service off the ground is coming to fruition with the launch of a new SpiceJet cargo route to Kabul, Afghanistan.
The airline has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) to offer 1,500 tonnes of monthly cargo capacity from 15 October of this year, writes Thelma Etim.
Perishables and valuable carpets are among the commodities likely to be flown from Kabul to metro cities in India at prices subsidised by the Afghan government, says a corporate statement from the company.
SpiceJet’s new dedicated airfreight service is branded as SpiceXpress and begins operations from next week (September 18), functioning as a separate business unit under the auspices of SpiceJet Ltd, the statement reveals.
SpiceXpress’ network will include both domestic and international destinations, starting with Delhi, Bengaluru, Guwahati, as well as to Hong Kong, Kabul and Amritsar.
“The [presence of] sustainable, on-time access to global markets is a vital need for Afghanistan. SpiceJet is excited about the tremendous potential the logistics industry offers,” the statement continues.
The low-cost airline signed the MoU shortly after the introduction of its first freighter aircraft, a B737-700.
The SpiceJet target is 900 tonnes of cargo a day
SpiceJet’s belly-hold cargo capacity via its existing passenger fleet is currently 500 tonnes per day, but with the launch of the dedicated B737 freighter services this capacity will, in a phased manner, rise to 900 tonnes a day after the addition of four more freighters by March 2019, the statement adds.
SpiceJet, which operates a passenger fleet of 36 Boeings and 22 Bombardier Q400 jets across 47 domestic and seven international destinations, aims to serve up to a total of 150 destinations by 2022, across a network covering destinations in India, Asia and Europe.