IndiGo and SpiceJet wet lease Boeing planes for six months
Aviation regulator DGCA has allowed IndiGo to take on wet lease — the aircraft and the operating crew — six wide body Boeing 777s from Turkish Airlines for six months — rejecting a request for a two-year lease of the aircraft.
SpiceJet has also received the regulators approval to wet lease five Boeing 737 Max planes for up to six months. The airline has already deployed two of the aircraft on different routes, according to sources.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) turned down the request of IndiGo —the country’s largest airline — to wet lease the aircraft for a longer period, citing that the move could become diversion of traffic rights in collusion with a strong foreign carrier that will mainly feed the latter’s hub abroad with more passengers from India, the sources said.
Sources said the DGCA is learnt to have conveyed its concerns to the ministry regarding allowing the wet leasing of B777-300 extended range (ER) by IndiGo beyond the six-month period.
The Indian safety regulator will have no oversight over these aircraft as the B777s are registered in Turkey with the crew also from there. Apart from the lack of effective surveillance, the DGCA will not be able to take any enforcement action in the event of any safety issue.
A majority of these passengers will take the foreign airline’s connecting flights from the hub and the same on the way back to India.
IndiGo, which currently has only narrow-body planes in its fleet, decided to lease wide-body aircraft to operate more flights on international routes to meet rising demand.
The sources said DGCA has permitted IndiGo to wet lease wide-body aircraft from Turkish Airlines for three months and the period can be extended by another three months.
In SpiceJet, the approval for taking the planes on wet lease was given earlier this month.
The sources said the remaining three aircraft will be inducted into SpiceJet fleet in the coming weeks.