Budget carrier SpiceJet has become the first Indian airline to operate a non-stop long-haul cargo flight between India and Europe.
On August 22, the airline’s cargo division, SpiceXpress used an Airbus A340 ‘preighter’ to fly between Amsterdam Schiphol and Mumbai, carrying 13 tonnes of cargo. The same cargo aircraft performed its next flight from Mumbai to Khartoum in Sudan on August 23, transporting 40 tonnes of cargo. This will be SpiceJet’s first non-stop flight to Africa. The airlines had earlier flown to Sudan via Ras Al-Khaimah (UAE).
“Today is a proud moment; we successfully operated our first wide-body long-haul flight from Europe. The induction of our first Airbus A340 cargo aircraft has significantly enhanced our operational capability and will allow us to operate non-stop cargo services across the globe to destinations in Europe, Africa and CIS countries,” said Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet, said.
SpiceJet has a dedicated fleet of nine freighter aircrafts consisting of five Boeing 737s, three Bombardier Q-400s and one A340, the latest addition and also the operator’s first wide-body aircraft.
Since March 25, the airline had operated over 5764 cargo flights and transported over 31,800 tonnes of cargo, which according to the airline, is more than double of all domestic airlines combined. These flights carried medicines, medical equipment, fruits and vegetables across India and the world.
On April 07, SpiceJet operated the country’s first cargo-on-seat flight carrying vital supplies in passenger cabin and belly space. Since then, the airline has been regularly deploying its B737 and Q400 passenger aircraft to carry cargo in the passenger cabin.
At present, SpiceJet’s international cargo network now spans over 42 international destinations that include Amsterdam, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Baghdad, Bahrain, Bangkok, Cairo, Colombo, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kabul, Kathmandu, Khartoum, Kyrgyzstan, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Male, Myanmar, Shanghai, Singapore, Sharjah,, Tashkent, Ukraine, among others.
The airline is said to be actively using Ras Al-Khaimah airport as a hub for its cargo operations.