Indian low-cost carrier secures slots to fly to London Heathrow next month

Aug 4, 2020

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London Heathrow Airport is getting a new airline. And unlike many that typically fly to Heathrow — and more so, those that can afford to get slots at the incredibly restricted airport — the newest carrier is a low-cost airline.

India’s low-cost carrier SpiceJet said on Tuesday that it had secured slots at the U.K.’s largest airport, London Heathrow. Beginning 1 September 2020, the low-cost carrier will begin flying between LHR and India.

“SpiceJet has secured slots at London Heathrow Airport to operate flights effective September 1, 2020”, the airline said in a BSE filing. “This is presently under the bubble arrangement between India and U.K. and effective up to end of summer schedule, 23 October 2020”.

It’s not yet clear which routes the airline will fly. The Gurugram, India-based SpiceJet has hubs at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD).

In a BSE filing, the airline said that it’s in “advance discussion” to secure Heathrow slots for winter operations beyond October.

According to PlaneSpotters, SpiceJet has a fleet of narrow-body aircraft. While a portion of its fleet are still parked as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it typically operates a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. Additionally, the airline has De Havilland Dash 8 aircraft. Included in those aircraft parked are 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which remain grounded around the world since March 2019.

The airline hasn’t detailed which aircraft it plans to fly on its routes to London Heathrow. However, last week, it leased a Hi-Fly A330neo to operate repatriate flights, so there’s a possibility that aircraft could stick around to operate these long-haul flights to the U.K.

It also hasn’t detailed what airfare will look like.

Currently, Air India is the only Indian carrier that flies to the U.K. Previously, Jet Airways flew to the U.K., however, the airline was grounded and suspended operations last year.

In its BSE filing, SpiceJet said that it had also gotten approval to fly to the U.S.

Traditionally, Heathrow is home to some of the most expensive slots in the world. Heathrow has waived its “use it or lose it” rule on slots until the end of October.

Featured photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/Getty Images.

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