The IndiGo Juggernaut rolls on

IndiGo has a strong fleet of 190 aircraft. It is racing towards 200 aircraft, which it may achieve by next month, or at best by the end of the year. Their first Airbus A321neo (MSN #8557) maybe Indigo’s 200th aircraft. IndiGo’s international expansion has been grabbing eyeballs everywhere. It is due to the fact that they are expanding at a rapid pace. International operations will soon constitute 18% of IndiGo’s total operations.

Source: DGCA

Since the last time we covered IndiGo’s Middle-East expansion and new flights to Kuala Lumpur, they have added a slew of new routes. Have a look:

Middle East

  • Ahmedabad – Dubai launches October 29, 2018
    • 6E 071 AMD0050 – 0245DXB A320 D
      6E 072 DXB1920 – 0005(+1) AMD A320 D
  • Ahmedabad – Muscat launches November 1, 2018
    • 6E 1305 AMD0830 – 0930MCT A320 x257
      6E 1306 MCT1300 – 1650 AMD A320 x257
  • Ahmedabad – Kuwait launches November 2, 2018
    • 6E 1753 AMD0830 – 0940 KWI A320 257
      6E 1754 KWI1040 – 1650 AMD A320 257
  • Amritsar – Dubai launches October 28, 2018
    • 6E 047 ATQ0240 – 0445DXB A320 D
      6E 048 DXB0545 – 1050ATQ A320 D
  • Kochi – Kuwait launches November 1, 2018
    • 6E 1757 COK2250 – 0200 (+1) KWI A320 D
      6E 1758 KWI0250 – 1025 COK A320 D
  • New Delhi – Doha (2nd frequency) launches October 28, 2018
    • 6E 1755 DEL0130 – 0345 DOH A320 D
      6E 1756 DOH0445 – 1035 DEL A320 D

Far-East expansion

  • Bengaluru to Bangkok launches October 27, 2018
    • 6E 075 BLR0915 – 1440BKK A320 x3
    • 6E 076 BKK1540 – 1815BLR A320 x3
  • Chennai to Bangkok launches October 27, 2018
    • 6E 091 MAA2040 – 0155 (+1)BKK A320 D
    • 6E 092 BKK0255 – 0445MAA A320 D
  • Delhi to Phuket launches November 23, 2018
    • 6E 1763 DEL0100 – 0640HKT A320 x3
    • 6E 1764 HKT0740 – 1035DEL A320 x3
  • Bengaluru to Hong Kong launches December 11, 2018
    • 6E 1773 BLR2340 – 0745(+1)HKG A320 x2
    • 6E 1771 BLR0445 – 1245HKG A320 2
    • 6E 1772 HKG1400 – 1800BLR A320 2
    • 6E 1774 HKG0845 – 1150BLR A320 2
    • 6E 1774 HKG0845 – 1245BLR A320 x23

Male expansion

  • Mumbai to Male launches November 16, 2018
    • 6E 1783 BOM1320 – 1510MLE A320 x14
    • 6E 1785 MLE0835 – 1220BOM A320 x14
  • Bengaluru to Male launches November 15, 2018
    • 6E 1778 BLR1340 – 1510MLE A320 14
    • 6E 1779 MLE0835 – 1100BLR A320 14
  • Kochi to Male launches November 15, 2018
    • 6E 1795 CCU0620 – 0735MLE A320 D
    • 6E 1782 MLE1610 – 1830CCU A320 D

IndiGo’s new international routes (Map courtesy GCMap.com)

India-Dubai route is saturated in terms of bilateral rights. So IndiGo swapped a New Delhi-Dubai flight for Amritsar-Dubai and a Kochi-Dubai flight for Ahmedabad-Dubai.

Also on the cards is adding flights to Saudi Arabia and Europe within the next few months. They might be launching flights to Riyadh by December and London in early 2019 according to IndiGo’s CCO Willy Boulter.

With this expansion, they will operate to 15 International destinations, all short haul. IndiGo plans on operating flights to 18 short-haul international destinations and 6 long-haul international destinations by mid-2019. This will take the total to 24 International destinations.

Any guesses on what the next 3 short haul destinations will be? I know Riyadh is one for sure. In the long haul sector, London is confirmed. IndiGo is looking to add flights to France, Germany, Belgium, the UK and Switzerland.

IndiGo International Route Map

IndiGo’s International route map

But what happened to other routes which IndiGo had started only to be dropped later on? Will IndiGo restart them? Some of the routes are…

  • Delhi-Singapore (Daily)
  • Delhi-Bangkok (Double Daily)
  • Mumbai-Singapore (Daily)
  • Mumbai-Bangkok (Daily)

Another thing that bugs me is why would IndiGo have a morning departure out of Male, especially for its Male Mumbai flight?

Readers who have been to Male know that it is a destination where tourists want to maximise their time at the hotel/resort. Hence almost everyone prefers an early morning arrival and an evening departure. The evening departure is also preferred due to the fact that one has to take a seaplane/boat transfer to/from Male airport. This takes time and so a morning departure is very inconvenient.

If they are trying to compete with GoAir which already offers an afternoon departure, they should have come up with a better schedule. I know IndiGo only cares to maximise their aircraft utilisation and not for the timings. But IndiGo needs to take it into account if they really want to operate routes with decent load factor.

On a side note, IndiGo could have achieved a better aircraft utilisation if they had gone for a BOM-MLE-COK-MLE-BOM and BLR-MLE-COK-MLE-BLR route. Or they could have instead operated BOM-MLE-COK-MLE-BOM and DEL-MLE-BLR-MLE-DEL route daily.

The IndiGo strategy is not just about crushing competitors by launching a tirade against them domestically, but also grab as many bilateral rights so that other airlines can’t have them, even if they need them for launching a differentiated service.

Bottomline

IndiGo is focusing on massive international expansion utilising all available rights and demanding for an increase in bilateral rights. SpiceJet is also considering adding flights to Riyadh from Trivandrum and Calicut, will IndiGo beat them to it?

Can you guess the other 7 international destinations that IndiGo would fly to?

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