Wednesday, June 03, 2020

IndiGo to add new Airbus jets to its fleet despite coronavirus uncertainty

New Delhi: IndiGo, India’s biggest airline, said it will keep adding new aircraft to its fleet even as it can’t give any firm guidance on future capacity growth because of the coronavirus pandemic, which destroyed demand for air travel in one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets.

The airline, the world’s biggest customer for Airbus SE’s best-selling A320neo jets, plans to return its entire fleet of 120 older, fuel-guzzling planes to lessors in the next two years, Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta said in a conference call with analysts and investors after the carrier reported fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday. “Almost all or close to all” of those aircraft will be replaced by new jets, Dutta said, without giving a time frame for that to happen.

“We are in active discussions with Airbus — we will take a large number,” Dutta, who runs the airline operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., said on the call. “It will all depend on the revenue picture and the pricing we get and so forth, but we will take a large number.”

Shares of the company jumped as much as 8.7% Wednesday in Mumbai, their biggest intraday surge in almost two weeks. IndiGo was the best performer on the 28-member Bloomberg World Airlines Index, that tracks the biggest global carriers.

IndiGo joins a small number of low-cost airlines around the world that are keeping growth plans intact. Last week, Ryanair Holdings Plc. Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said that the carrier was planning to rekindle growth by negotiating incentives with traffic-starved airports and betting on the return of Boeing Co.’s beleaguered 737 Max model, which was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes. Last month, Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi said the carrier plans to take delivery of the hundreds of jetliners it has on order from Airbus.
03/05/20 Anurag Kotoky/Print
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