India’s leading low-cost carrier, SpiceJet has witnessed a depletion its in aircraft availability, with three of its Boeing 737-800s being ordered to stay grounded due to unpaid lease fees. Indeed, the lessor, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise took the decision to ground the aircraft after SpiceJet racked up five months of unpaid fees.
As reported by ch-aviation, DAE has served the grounding notice to both SpicJet and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in the process, requesting that SpiceJet also provide them an Aerodrome Entry Permit. A source that wished not to be named, revealed that the three aircraft in question were initially leased to Jet Airways in 2019, who in turn leased them to SpiceJet in May 2019.
The source is also of the opinion that SpiceJet might be contacted by other Lessors who will also request grounding of their leased aircraft for the aforementioned reasons. They said, “SpiceJet kept telling the lessors that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it wasn’t able to generate revenues. SpiceJet has defaulted on multiple payments for the past several months and continues to delay communications with the lessors.”
Unpaid Fees Not A One-Off Occurrence
Back in October 2020, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) ordered SpiceJet to start paying in advance for the Airports’ services that it uses. This is because SpiceJet had amassed 1.6 Billion Indian Rupees (£1.6 million) in unpaid debt! As such, SpiceJet were forced to adopt a ‘cash and carry’ process, in order to fulfil its flight operations. Whilst SpiceJet have claimed that a portion of the debt has been paid off, the AAI has demanded that the entire balance be settled, in order to avoid encashment of SpiceJet’s banks guarantees.
Indeed, the immediate future suggests that ‘Spice might have to think Twice’ about jetting its passengers around India!