Tuesday, May 15, 2018

IndiGo firming up international flight plan, to add 24 destinations

No-frills carrier IndiGo will expand its flight offerings to include 24 foreign destinations over the next 18 months, a person aware of the development said. The new routes will include 18 shorthaul destinations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China, and six longhaul flights to cities in France, Germany, Belgium, the UK and Switzerland, the person cited earlier said, adding that the airline may order dual-aisle aircraft for the purpose.

“The plans for international expansion are firmed up and the airline may order wide-bodied aircraft at the Farnborough air show to be held in July,” the source said, requesting not to be named. An email query to Indigo, the country’s largest carrier by market share, remained unanswered until press time, but a government official confirmed that IndiGo has firmed up plans to launch international operations in a big way, which will be its second phase of expansion. In an interview with ET earlier this month, IndiGo cofounder Rahul Bhatia had said that domestic and international expansion along with addition of new aircraft are the airline’s priority.
“There are also plans to add mediumand long-haul international flights and the details are still being worked out. At some point in the future, we may go in for wide-body aircraft for international long-haul flying, but nothing has been decided so far,” Bhatia had said. According to the source cited earlier, between March and October this year, the airline will connect Indian cities to destinations like Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) and the UAE (Abu Dhabi).

Between October 2018 and March 2019, IndiGo will commence flights to destinations in Afghanistan, France (with wide-body aircraft), Germany (with wide-body aircraft), Iran, Maldives, Saudi Arabia (Jeddah, Madinah and Dammam), Thailand (Phuket), UK (with wide-body aircraft). In the third tranche, between March and October of 2019, the airline will offer flights to Belgium (with wide-body aircraft), Italy (with wide-body aircraft), Myanmar, Switzerland (with wide-body aircraft), Myanmar, Switzerland (with wide-body aircraft), Thailand (Koh Samui), Vietnam and China. With a fleet of 160 aircraft, IndiGo transported about 39.5% of air passengers in India in March.
15/05/18 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times