SpiceJet said it operated its maiden long-haul charter flight from Amsterdam to Bengaluru and Hyderabad on Sunday carrying 269 Indians. The low-cost carrier said in a press release it had chartered a wide-body A330neo aircraft from Portuguese airline Hi Fly for this flight from Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
While the Amsterdam-Bengaluru leg of the flight had the Hi Fly's call sign 5K471, the Bengaluru-Hyderabad leg had the SpiceJet's call sign SG471. "The flight arrived in Bengaluru at 8.58 am IST and the same aircraft then proceeded to Hyderabad with the remaining passengers," SpiceJet said. The twin-aisle A330neo aircraft used by SpiceJet has a configuration of 353 economy and 18 business class seats.
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, special international charter flights, permitted by the Indian aviation regulator DGCA, have been operating as usual. The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave-without-pay and firings of employees in order to conserve cash.