SpiceJet Limited’s shares jumped nearly 2.4% on Thursday after the company signed a memorandum with Japanese company Setouchi Holdings to purchase 100 amphibian aircraft. The 14-seater planes, which can operate on land as well as on water, have been purchased for an estimate cost of $400 million (around Rs 2,600 crore), PTI reported on Thursday.
Amphibian planes can take off or land at places that do not have runway or landing strips. In a statement, the budget airline said the planes are reliable, tough and resilient, and can land on water bodies, gravel and grass.
“Even while we are acknowledged as one of the world’s fastest growing markets, the ground reality remains that only about 3% Indians travel by air,” SpiceJet Chief Managing Director Ajay Singh said in a statement, according to The Economic Times. “Infrastructural challenges have been a key deterrent for providing air connectivity to smaller towns and cities.”
He said the MoU was signed to explore whether the airlines can use the amphibian planes in a cost-effective manner. If it was possible, it will be done in excess of a 100 planes, he told reporters on Thursday.
With this, the company hopes to explore providing air connectivity to the remotest parts of the country. The government already has a regional connectivity scheme, “Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik” or UDAN scheme, that seeks to provide air connectivity to the remotest regions of the country as well as make flying more affordable.