The high cost of ownership for new-generation widebodies is a key obstacle in the development of long-haul, low-cost air travel, argues SpiceJet managing director Ajay Singh.
The concept of a low-cost intercontinental airline is an attractive one, Singh acknowledged at the Aviation Festival in London on 8 September. But he admits: "I don't know if you can do it."
Singh says the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 could be suitable types to start intercontinental services, but aircraft prices have thus far prevented a move into the long-haul business.
He says talks with manufacturers are underway to "significantly reduce ownership costs" for new-generation aircraft.
The airline has previously indicated that it was looking to acquire 787s to launch services to the UK as early as the upcoming winter schedule. His latest comments appear to show that those plans are on hold for now.
Nonetheless, Singh also points out that its large order for 737 Max jets could be the right vehicle for it to launch new medium-haul flights.
"We believe the 737 Max will be a game-changer," he says.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the carrier has 122 737 Max 8s on order, and a further 20 Max 10s.
Deliveries of the Max jets are scheduled to start in 2018, Singh adds.