By Vihaan Kushwaha
IndiGo made the headlines during the 2023 edition of Paris Air Show, as they placed the largest order in the history of aviation. An order of 125 Airbus A320neo and 375 Airbus A321neo totaling up to 50 billion dollars and taking the delivery backlog to almost 1,000 aircraft. At the 46th Paris Air Show in 2005, yet again, IndiGo also made it to the headlines by placing a firm order of 100 Airbus A320 aircraft.
Soon after receiving the first aircraft, IndiGo started operations on August 4, 2006, with their first flight from New Delhi to Imphal, India via Guwahati, India. Since then, there has been no looking back for the airline as it has soared successfully into the clouds to dominate the Indian skies.
IndiGo at Present
Today, IndiGo is not only the largest airline in India, but in Asia. It operates the largest fleet of Airbus’ flagship short-haul aircraft, the Airbus A320neo. Along with Airbus A321neo, Airbus A321 Freighter and ATR 72, the total fleet of IndiGo currently stands at 319 aircraft. This ever-growing fleet is key to the growth of aviation in India and to cater to millions of passengers every year.
In India, you are always bound to see an IndiGo aircraft at any airport, signifying the massive presence of the airline throughout the country. IndiGo’s passenger share amounts to a huge 60% in the Indian aviation market. It serves 78 destinations within the country with more than 1,800 flights daily.
If you think IndiGo operates a fleet of only short-haul aircraft, you might be in for a surprise! The airline recently inducted two Boeing 777-300ERs on a damp lease from Turkish Airlines to expand its international footprint. These 777s are used on flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Istanbul, increasing capacity on these routes to a significant number and enabling IndiGo’s stride into the European market. The partnership of IndiGo with Turkish Airlines has deepened in the past few months with the introduction of a number of codeshare routes throughout major destinations across Europe and across the Atlantic to Boston, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C..
IndiGo also received the ‘Best Low-Cost Airline in India and South Asia’ award by Skytrax at the World Airline Awards 2023.
IndiGo posted a profit of 372 million dollars in the June quarter, a jump of almost 30% compared to the previous quarter. This profit was the airline’s highest ever quarterly profit and a hike in salaries for cabin crew and pilots was announced shortly after. IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers stated that the airline produced strong operational performance and welcomed the highest number of quarterly passengers, which enabled IndiGo to generate the highest-ever revenue and net profit for the quarter that ended June 2023.
Compared to the same period in 2022, this year, IndiGo reported an 18.8% capacity increase to 32.7 billion available seat-kilometer and the passengers’ numbers increased to 26.2 million, up by 30%.
Being the fastest-growing airline in the most populous nation in the world, IndiGo is now facing mighty competition from the now Tata Group-backed, Air India. But with almost 1,000 aircraft on order and spiraling demand for seats per sector, IndiGo has a bright future ahead.
The airline announced international expansion plans from India to new destinations in Africa and Central Asia. IndiGo has planned to start flights to Nairobi, Kenya and Jakarta, Indonesia from Mumbai and to Tbilisi, Georgia, Baku, Azerbaijan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Almaty, Kazakhstan from Delhi in the upcoming months. There are several new direct flights being added from India to the Middle East.
IndiGo has pioneered the LCC world in India and strives to be the largest airline in the country and Asia for years to come. It would be interesting to see how the airline enters unexplored markets and what holds for the temporary wide-body fleet in the future. A great future lies ahead for Indian aviation with the massive expansion of IndiGo and the rise of the new Air India.