x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

SpiceJet launches budget route from Dubai

SpiceJet has launched its first flights to Dubai as the Indian low-cost carrier targets new markets overseas to offset growing losses at home.

SpiceJet has launched its first flights to Dubai as the Indian low-cost carrier targets new markets overseas to offset growing losses at home.

The route is the airline's third international connection, following the establishment of flights to Sri Lanka and Nepal.

"Opening up Dubai is a milestone for us as it will offer us an opportunity to serve the large Indian and western expatriate community along with the UAE citizens with an affordable flying option," said Neil Mills, SpiceJet's chief executive.

"Dubai is a key destination and connecting to this bustling cosmopolitan city will also add more value to our global prospects as the emirate's busy airport is a corridor to Europe and Asia for global passengers," he added.

Despite rising incomes in the world's second-most populous nation, India's airlines have struggled to turn a profit during the past few years as rising fuel costs eat into margins. SpiceJet has reported losses for the past five consecutive quarters.

The Arabian Gulf's non-resident Indians, who account for about a third of the UAE's population, represent a lucrative market for airlines.

The carrier is also seeking to expand its network to Saudi Arabia, although it gave no indication of when it seeks to open routes to the kingdom.

SpiceJet shares rose 2.9 per cent to 33.70 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange yesterday.

The airline, which with a market share of 18.5 per cent is the third-biggest carrier in India, joins IndiGo and Jet Airways in offering flights from India to the UAE.

Kingfisher Airlines has reported a string of increasingly severe losses and has been the target of legal action from India's government.

The airline has stopped all flights to the UAE.

The International Air Transport Association said this month it expected airline profits to fall by more than half from US$7.9 billion (Dh29.02bn) last year to $3bn this year, warning of the impact of the euro-zone crisis on global growth.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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