Wednesday, March 17, 2021

IndiGo is all set to go the distance

IndiGo, India’s largest carrier by fleet and domestic market share, has the unique distinction of not having closed a station ever in its history of over 14 years. That’s a feat unmatched by anybody in the past in this country. Thus it came as a surprise when it suspended Delhi-Singapore, one of its first foreign routes when it went international in September 2011, as well as Mumbai–Singapore. The airline did not suspend the station, but instead chose to connect it from Chennai.

While one of the reasons for suspension was domination on the route by Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways, which offered a better product, there also were operational challenges. The A320s that the airline operated did not have the legs to operate non-stop with a full load. In a market that is often described as a shoppers’ paradise and where people are known to check in extra luggage, this became a problem for the airline.

This was before the airline inducted its first A320neo aircraft. The aircraft, with its 15 percent savings would give the airline that additional range or help it carry additional luggage as it has to carry less fuel. The first of the A320neos landed in March 2016. IndiGo has paid special focus to fleet planning. In 2011, the airline placed an order for 180 A320 aircraft comprising 30 A320ceo and 150 A320neo. By 2014, when the airline received the 100th aircraft from its initial order, it had already placed another order for 250 A320neo aircraft. Having converted the 30 A320ceos to A320neos, the airline was hoping to get delivery of the aircraft to replace the older A320ceo and have a rapid induction into the fleet.

17/03/21 Ameya Joshi/Moneycontrol

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