IndiGo has long been touted to add flights to London. Earlier there was news that it would happen in 2018, which we decoded, was a no go. But since the first A321neo delivery was delayed for the airline, the date was pushed back (or it could be the other way around too). VT-IUA, the first A321neo joined IndiGo’s fleet towards the end of December 2018. IndiGo has another 149 A321neo on order.
IndiGo to London Gatwick!! How? When?
We have all heard rumours that IndiGo will launch flights to London Gatwick with a fuel stop, on the A321neo. The stop was touted to be Istanbul but later on, Baku was rumoured to be the one. IndiGo signed their first codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines in the fag end of 2018. That revealed IndiGo’s plan to launch flights to Istanbul. But none of the information said anything about terminating the flights at Istanbul or continuing to London.
Now, in a new court filing that has come to light thanks to the ongoing tussle between Delta/Virgin Atlantic/KLM/Air France and JetBlue, there is new information that shows IndiGo has confirmed slots at London Gatwick, to operate via Baku. We don’t know yet whether Baku will be a technical stop or IndiGo will have fifth freedom rights. IndiGo will operate a 222-seater A321neo on that route.
IndiGo’s slots will be active from March 31, 2019, and indicate an evening arrival and departure from London Gatwick.
IndiGo has assigned flight numbers 1 and 2, their flagship numbers, to the London Gatwick service. It seems IndiGo will have to keep their famed ramps ready, given they will have to turn around the aircraft in one-hour flat. That means, open doors, open cargo doors, unload passengers and luggage and load up fresh one, and get out of the gate. With some practice, IndiGo should be able to do it.
Looking at the arrival time at LGW, I guess the flight will have an afternoon departure from Delhi. Air India (AI 111), Jet Airways ( 9w 122) and Virgin Atlantic (VS 301) depart from Delhi in the afternoon and arrive at London Heathrow between 17:40 and 18:55. Corresponding return flights arrive at Delhi in the morning between 10:25 to 11:20.
So IndiGo will have an afternoon departure from Delhi and a morning arrival at Delhi airport. Pretty convenient timings but there are up against three widebody frequencies to London during the same time.
The other thing we also know is that IndiGo will operate out of Terminal 1l that is the South terminal at Gatwick. British Airways and even Turkish Airlines operate out of South Terminal at London Gatwick Airport.
We still have to wait for a formal announcement from IndiGo, but the project seems a go, given the management has also talked to SCMP about it. Are cheaper fares to London coming this summer? Travelling in a narrowbody aircraft, with slimly seats and space-flex lavatories isn’t everyone’s thing. There are a few downsides to narrowbody operations. Lufthansa is operating an A319 on Frankfurt-Pune route also via Baku. But they are going to stop that from February 2019.
Are you pumped up for IndiGo’s foray into London? If yes, why so?