SpiceJet signs MoU to start freighter flights to Afghanistan

SpiceJet has signed a MoU with the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) as it gets set to start freighter services for the first time tomorrow (18 September).

This is for the first time an Indian carrier has been given a role to promote trade for Afghanistan via Indo-Afghan air corridor. SpiceJet plans to transport 1,500 tons of cargo every month under this MoU.

In collaboration with ACCI and with the support of government of Afghanistan, SpiceJet will transport fresh fruits and dry fruits, carpets and other commodities from Kabul to different states of India at competitive prices, which will be subsidised by the Afghan Government.

SpiceJet will operate dedicated air cargo services under the brand name SpiceXpress from tomorrow. SpiceJet will be transporting these commodities from Kabul using freighters to Indian metro cities and through its pan-India belly flight network would be distributing it to 47 cities in India.

The carrier said sustainable and on time access to the global markets is a vital need for Afghanistan. SpiceJet said it is  “excited about the tremendous potential the logistics industry offers” as there is a huge untapped market for air cargo services in India.

SpiceXpress will function as a separate business unit under SpiceJet Limited and will operate a vast domestic and international network. To begin with the air cargo operations will cover Delhi, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Hong Kong, Kabul and Amritsar.

The airline signed the MoU right after the induction of its first freighter aircraft, a Boeing 737-700. SpiceJet plans to have an air cargo fleet with the first four freighters scheduled to be inducted in 2019.

With the induction of freighters, the airline is all set to strengthen its footprint whilst offering safe, on-time, efficient and seamless air cargo connectivity across India, Asia and Europe. SpiceJet will offer direct freighter operations powered by its fully integrated transportation network including air cargo, ground transportation and warehousing facilities across the country.

The current cargo capacity of SpiceJet’s existing fleet is about 500 tonnes per day and with the launch of the dedicated freighter service this capacity would go up to 900 tonnes a day in a phased manner with the addition of four freighters by March 2019.

SpiceJet currently offers cargo capacity on its passenger aircraft fleet of 36 Boeing and 22 Q400s operating across 47 domestic and 7 international destinations. The added capacity from freighters will enhance the airline’s existing cargo competence to 60 domestic destinations by the end of this year.

SpiceJet aims to further ramp up this competence servicing up to 150 destinations across India, Asia and Europe by 2022. It aims to shore up SpiceXpress’ existing capacity, transforming it into a full scale freighter service.