SpiceJet resumes operations but uncertainty persists

New Delhi: Problems continued to plague troubled SpiceJet on Thursday with the budget carrier barely able to conduct operations forcing it to cancel or delay several flights, notwithstanding claims of normalcy.

Despite resumption of its services, uncertainty over SpiceJet's operations spoilt the dreams of hundreds of people who had bought the airline's tickets to enjoy the upcoming year-end vacations.

Large number of travellers went on a spree cancelling SpiceJet tickets, with many of them shifting to other airlines, according to officials of travel agencies and portals.

The demand for tickets of other airlines generated by SpiceJet's cancellations led the prices to skyrocket, with one-way Delhi-Mumbai fares rising by an average of 45 per cent to Rs 14,484 as against Rs 9,995 in December last year. Similarly, Delhi-Bangalore fares shot up by 57 per cent to Rs 17,570 from Rs 11,189 a year ago, travel agencies and portals said.

Till 1800 hours today, the airline operated 21 of 32 scheduled flights from IGI Airport, where 21 of 38 flights also arrived from other destinations, airport sources said. 

SpiceJet officials refused to provide any details, but the airline in a statement announced "resumption of normal operations as of today, with all 230 flights scheduled to operate for the day, and sincerely apologises for the
disruptions that occurred yesterday and the day before". 

It also said it was now able to take bookings till March 28 next year, adding that the "temporary restriction" of 30 days imposed on it in this regard by DGCA has been removed.

Speaking on "large-scale" cancellations of SpiceJet tickets, the travel industry officials said the airline would have to "regain confidence" of the general public as a majority of those who cancelled tickets were leisure travellers, most of whom cannot postpone their holidays.

The beleaguered budget carrier ran into turbulence yesterday after all its flights were grounded for about 10 hours before it paid Rs 3 crore as part payment to fill jet fuel in its aircraft to resume partial operations last evening.

The airline has total liabilities of Rs 2,000 crore which include dues to the public sector oil firms and the Airports Authority of India.

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