SpiceJet to add 7 planes; another Rs 500 cr infusion in April

New Delhi: As it embarks on a revival path, budget carrier SpiceJet plans to lease seven more Boeing 737 aircraft by May while another Rs 500 crore is expected to be infused by its new owner Ajay Singh next month.

Singh has already pumped in Rs 500 crore into the carrier after he took over control last month from erstwhile promoter the Maran family as part of the airline's revival plan.

"We plan to induct seven more Boeing 737 planes between April and May, which would take our total Boeing fleet size to 22," a top source at the airline told PTI.

The source, who did not wish to be named, said that Singh recently had discussions with some of the aircraft leasing firms. SpiceJet currently has 17 Boeing 737s and 15 Bombardier Q400s in its fleet.

Singh's talks with the new lessors came amid SpiceJet being dragged into litigation by some of its existing lessors over the alleged aircraft rental defaults.

The airline has already settled one such dispute while sources said that the carrier is in advanced discussions for an out-of-court settlement in other similar cases.

Singh is likely to pump in another Rs 500 crore in April. "Singh plans to infuse Rs 500 crore more in SpiceJet around April 15 as part of his overall investment of Rs 1,500 crore in the carrier," the source said.

Following the ownership change, the cash flows as well as operations have seen significant improvement at the carrier, the source said.

Under the deal, the Maran family transferred its entire 58.46 per cent holding in the no-frills carrier to Singh, who co-founded SpiceJet along with the then majority stakeholder Bhupendra Kansagra in 2005. He, however, divested almost his entire stakes to Kalanidhi Maran-owned Sun Group in 2010 along with Kansagra, but retained a minuscule 1.85 per cent with him.

According to the revival plan, submitted to the civil aviation ministry in January for its approval, the new promoter had to invest Rs 1,500 crore in three tranches of Rs 500 crore each between February and April.

"However due to the deal going to the anti-competition watchdog CCI, the dates were pushed forward," the source said, adding the date for the infusion of the balance Rs 500 crore is yet to be finalised. The deal had received Competition Commission of India's approval on February 20, and immediately after that Singh infused the first tranche of the investment.

Currently he holds 60.31 per cent in SpiceJet after acquiring the entire 59.46 per cent from Marans.

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