Low-cost airline SpiceJet announced on Tuesday that it has secured slots at London Heathrow Airport that will allow the airline to begin service to the UK next month.
These Bubble Pact slots will later be expanded to operate regular air services once international air services resume, SpiceJet said in a regulatory filing.
An air bubble is a bilateral agreement with a number of regulations and restrictions in which the airlines of both countries can operate international flights.
“SpiceJet has secured slots at London Heathrow Airport for flights effective September 1st. This is currently under the bubble agreement between India and the UK and will continue until the summer flight schedule ends on October 23rd,” said the airline in the file.
The same thing will be extended with the resumption of regular operations, it added.
All international commercial passenger services in India have been discontinued since March 22 due to travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, various evacuation and charter flights are currently being carried out in order to fly stranded Indians back to different countries and also to transport foreigners who are stuck in India to their countries.
SpiceJet also said in Tuesday’s filing that it is in “preliminary discussion to secure slots for the winter schedule for regular operations.”
The airlines’ winter flight schedule in India begins on the last Saturday in October and lasts until the last week of March each year.
“London is one of India’s busiest long-haul destinations and this is a huge milestone for SpiceJet. The uninterrupted connection from India to different parts of the world, which in turn strengthens our own airport hubs, is a dream that we have long cherished and it is a small step in that direction, “said SpiceJet Chairman & Managing Director Ajay Singh.
Singh went on to say, “The identical arrivals / departures that we secured at Heathrow should fit the comfort of our passengers perfectly.” On July 24, the low-cost carrier announced that it had been named the “scheduled Indian carrier” to operate flight services from India to the UK.
Government-owned Air India is currently the only domestic airline that flies between India and the UK. Air services to the United States were also allowed to operate under the Bubble Pact.
SpiceJet had been planning to fly to London since summer 2019 when it requested slots to connect Amritsar-London flights.
However, after failing to get them, the low-cost carrier made another attempt to get slots at London Heathrow and Manchester in August after Jet Airways landed in April. But it couldn’t work.