Budget carrier SpiceJet on Thursday said it has been designated as the “Indian scheduled carrier,” to operate flights to the US. SpiceJet would be the first Indian budget carrier to operate services to the United States.

All international commercial air passenger services are suspended since March 22, in the wake of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is to inform you that in terms of the Air Services Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of the United States of America, SpiceJet has been designated as Indian scheduled carrier to operate on agreed services between India and the USA. This is for dissemination to all stakeholders,” SpiceJet said in its statement to the exchanges on July 23.

SpiceJet Chairman & Managing Director Ajay Singh said the designation as an Indian scheduled carrier to operate between India and the US would help the airline in planning its international expansion in a much better and calibrated manner.

I have always maintained that there is an opportunity in every adversity and the present crisis situation has seen SpiceJet rise to the occasion and play a pivotal role,” he said.

Shares of SpiceJet were trading at Rs 49.65, up 4.6 per cent over its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Currently, Air India is the only Indian airline that operates on the India-US route, which has seen substantial traffic since the onset of the Vande Bharat flights.

In the case of outbound passengers on Vande Bharat flights, the sector of India-US and Canada gained the maximum passengers or nearly 60 per cent of the outbound traffic as 46,170 passengers boarded flights for the US on these 159 flights.

In conclusion, to be able to fly to the US, Spicejet will need wide-body aircraft. As SpiceJet does not have any wide-body aircraft, it will have to get such a plane on lease. This will surely deter the slowdown in the aviation sector and likely propel the growth in forwarding direction