India's government gave billionaire Kalanithi Maran's troubled airline SpiceJet a lifeline by allowing it to take bookings until the end of March and extending a credit line for jet fuel by two weeks, an official at the civil aviation ministry said yesterday. SpiceJet had sought 10 days from the government to submit a funding plan, the official said. The New Delhi-based carrier earlier this month had been barred from accepting bookings beyond a month. Allowing the airline to sell tickets for journeys through March may help bring in cash as it struggles to meet expenses. The company sought state relief yesterday. A government official said it was working to find a solution to the crisis, though it was difficult to offer help to individual airlines. Shares in SpiceJet finished 2.6 per cent higher yesterday in Mumbai. During the session, they had climbed up to 8.9 per cent when the government decision to allow extended ticket sales was announced. They also dropped as much as 17 per cent. SpiceJet had not submitted a concrete revival programme, Junior Civil Aviation Minister Mahesh Sharma said. The relief the government had offered the carrier so far had been taken in the wider interest of passengers, he said. Base fares sometimes as low as 2 US cents have stoked more than US$10 billion in aviation losses in the past seven years in India, one of the world's costliest airline markets. Kingfisher Airlines, started by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, was grounded in 2012 after accumulating US$1.4 billion of debt. "Without significant and immediate promoter funding, I see no future," CAPA Centre for Aviation's South Asia chief executive Kapil Kaul said about SpiceJet. "Two airline closures in the past few years and a very challenged SpiceJet highlight the massive structural challenges faced by the industry." A financial proposal the carrier submitted to the government in a meeting yesterday did not provide new information regarding new investors or funds, the official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said. The government might give the company two to four weeks to pay outstanding jet fuel bills, the official said.