Some, however, attribute the turnaround to Kingfisher Airlines' woes and the strike at Air India.
Before moving to SpiceJet, Mills spent 12 years in various management roles in EasyJet, one of the largest European low-cost airlines, and a year and half as chief financial officer in FlyDubai.
Mills brought to SpiceJet an approach that stresses on attention to detail. He also introduced measures to improve efficiency and minimise costs.
"He has an eye for detail and data. At meetings, he invariably comes up with points that we overlooked," said a SpiceJet executive. "He is focused on the bottom line all the time,” said another airline executive.
"Neil has performed well, considering the severe operating environment. After his entry, Neil and his team started a strategic review to turn around the airline and structure a new business plan, including urgently addressing the long-term fleet requirements of SpiceJet that were neglected by the previous ownership. I must admit SpiceJet didn't have a serious business plan before Neil took charge," said Kapil Kaul of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation.
"However, a sustainable turnaround would take time, as the industry is faced with a very negative and hostile fiscal regime. This, coupled with a very ineffective policy and regulatory framework, makes his task extremely challenging. I will prefer to wait for consistent delivery of any turnaround before reaching any conclusion, but his efforts are showing results," he added.