Wednesday, November 21, 2018

No, IndiGo Probably Won't Be Flying To London Via The Caucasus

Speculation has been mounting that IndiGo, the Indian low-cost carrier, is about to launch flights to London Gatwick Airport – due primarily to an article published by The Times of India last week.

The newspaper, which did not quote anyone from the airline, claimed that the U.K. capital will be served from March 2019 with a stop in either Tbilisi, Georgia, or Baku, Azerbaijan.

It apparently based this conclusion on the fact that TAV Airports Holding, the operator of Tbilisi Airport, has stated that IndiGo will begin serving Georgia's capital next spring. However, the airline itself has not announced a Tbilisi route launch; and neither IndiGo nor TAV has made any public statement about onward flights to London.

From a purely geographical perspective, it is true that the Caucasus would be a logical stopover when flying narrowbody jets from Delhi to London. IndiGo operates an all-narrowbody fleet, meaning it cannot reach western Europe without stopping to refuel.
But in order to serve London via Tbilisi, IndiGo would first need to secure traffic rights from the Georgian civil aviation authorities. These would be either second-freedom rights, which allow an airline to make a technical stop but prohibit passengers from boarding or disembarking; or fifth-freedom rights, which permit stand-alone bookings for individual legs of a connecting journey.
20/11/18 Martin Rivers/Forbes