IndiGo for quite some time has talked about adding direct flights to Europe. They initially planned to kick off their Europe expansion with flights to London and add flights to France, Germany and Belgium to name a few. The initial conversation was to take over Air India, and when that plan did not pan out, they also talked about their own widebodies.
IndiGo upgraded their earlier order of 25 A321neos to 150 A321neos to fuel their international and domestic expansion. They recently entered into a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. One with Qatar Airways may also be in the making.
Reports have now come in that IndiGo is second-guessing their expansion to Europe. According to The Economic Times, IndiGo has put the plan under review and is now in the back burner for at least six months. There is an internal debate going on whether it is the right strategy or not to operate such a long flight on a narrowbody aircraft. I already wrote about IndiGo’s inability to launch flights to London in the winter schedule 2018 and the negatives of operating a narrowbody aircraft on an 8+ hour route.
A few weeks back, I wrote about IndiGo getting slots at London Gatwick for the Summer schedule also. IndiGo had filed for a daily A321neo service from Delhi to London Gatwick via Baku. It seems that won’t happen anymore.
IndiGo is, however, definitely firming up expansion to Turkey, Russia, Vietnam and China. They need the A321s for a few of these routes as well. And they don’t have that many of them currently. Only 1 A321neo (VT-IUA) is in India at the moment, which is entering service today with flights to Goa. Another A321neo, designated to be VT-IUB is currently in storage at Airbus, perhaps because IndiGo wanted to get through the Entry Into Service first with one. A third one, designated to be VT-IUC is currently in production, and a fourth will soon enter production.
IndiGo seems to have put the current plan in a holding pattern for the moment. I now hope IndiGo gives more clarity on routes, strategy, aircraft deliveries and other issues shortly.