After a great turnaround, SpiceJet is now entering a new growth era, SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh tells Ashish Sinha.
Seven continuous quarters of profits and best passenger load factor; how are things now for SpiceJet?
So far, so good. Given the place from where we came — when the airline was shutting down — we have come a long way. Today, we have one of the best on-time performances (OTP) and the highest load factor of 92 per cent for 19 months in a row. We are in a good position.
What did you do to make things right?
The very first thing was to instil confidence in everybody that the airline will continue to fly and not shut down. We had to give the confidence to our business partners, travel agents, employees and everybody connected with the business that the airline will stay and prosper. That is how we started restoring confidence. We decided that there won’t be any more cancellations going forward. We made it a point to tell everyone which flights were flying and which were not. I wanted to be honest with everybody. I wanted to put operations back in order. We had to ensure that the planes were not going to be taken away by the lessors. We took aircraft on wet lease.
How bad was the financial situation in those days?
It was very bad. We were in a situation where immediate payables of around Rs 2,200-2.300 crore were hanging on our head. It was clear that the money could not have been paid right away. So, I asked everybody to give me some time before I could start paying back. We had to make a timetable. I got tremendous support from lenders as many felt that since I had done this before, I would be able to do it again. I told everyone that I will not be asking for more. But I also told them that I will freeze the current payments and pay on a day-to-day basis. The very first task was to keep all the aircraft flying. For that we needed money, for aviation turbine fuel (ATF), and salaries of employees. The basics had to be done. So, we started doing those things right. Omri Casspi Womens Jersey