Tuesday , 4 October 2022

SpiceJet adds flights between Delhi and Jaipur – growing guar bean industry a factor?

SpiceJet will be adding daily nonstop service between Delhi and Jaipur with schedule as follows

SG 133 –> DEL –>JAI –> D – 07:15 A -08:00 –> 737 –> Daily
SG 218 –> DEL –>JAI –> D – 20:40 A -21:15 –> 737 –> Daily

This flight will be operated in conjunction with SpiceJet’s Mumbai-Jaipur services, as one aircraft will be routed Delhi-Jaipur-Mumbai (flight to Mumbai departs at 08:30), then a separate aircraft will perform the return flight, beginning in Mumbai at 18:10, arriving in Jaipur at 20:10, then departing to Delhi at 20:40.

The 30 minutes turn time seems a bit high for an airport like Jaipur, where rival low cost carriers (LCCs) routinely turn aircraft in under 20 mins (schedule wise), but this still represents smart scheduling and aircraft utilization from SpiceJet. This is good aircraft utilization because it takes a 737 which previously would have had to RON (remain over night) at Jaipur anyway, and increases utilization. The 737 will now instead RON at Delhi. I wonder however, that overnight parking rates at Jaipur have to be cheaper than in Delhi, so it will be interesting to see what kind of effect that has on the viability a marginal route like Delhi-Jaipur (because it is such a short routing, cost components like airport charges are a proportionately higher percentage of total operating costs).

SpiceJet has also tried Delhi-Jaipur numerous times in the past, so it’s interesting to consider what factors would make it viable this time around. The near-collapse of Kingfisher Airlines and subsequent capacity draw-down (though it maintains a presence on Delhi-Jaipur) has to be a factor, but both Air India and Jet Airways still operate the flight. A potential factor on the demand is the rapidly exploding market for guar beans, which are used in hydraulic fracking (a method of shale oil production that has found common use in the United States). There was recently an article in the New York Times about the rise of guar bean farmers, and Jaipur is the biggest hub of guar bean manufacturing. Thus it is possible that the guar bean industry has stimulated more O&D demand in Jaipur. Whether it will be enough remains to be seen; perhaps this route would have been more viable with the Dash 8 Q400, but a combination of high utilization and inability to add more of the type due to cash restrictions could make that impossible.

About Vinay Bhaskara

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