IndiGo took delivery of their first A321neo, VT-IUA back in December 2018. I had the pleasure to travel on it (twice!) last month. From a passenger experience perspective, it is a very silent aircraft. IndiGo has another 149 A321neos on order. Currently, four of these A321neos, VT-IUB/C/D/E are at various stages of production and testing and will be delivered soon.
IndiGo announced the launch of flights between Delhi and Istanbul on board the A321neo in January this year. The first flight is scheduled for March 20, 2019. At that time, we knew IndiGo would launch another flight to Istanbul, to take up all the bilaterals, Everyone hoped it would be from another city like Mumbai or Bengaluru, but it isn’t the case.
IndiGo has just loaded a second daily flight on the Delhi – Istanbul sector. The first flight for this second flight is scheduled for March 25, 2019. That’s less than twenty days away. The second daily flight will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, most probably since the A321neos are yet to be delivered. Perhaps they will upgrade it to an A321neo later on.
The flight schedule is,
6E 15 DEL0045 – 0515IST 320 D
6E 16 IST0615 – 1445DEL 320 D
From March 31, 2019, the flight will have a change in schedule,
6E 15 DEL1145 – 1545IST 320 D
6E 16 IST1950 – 0410(+1)DEL 320 D
From March 31, 2019, 6E 15 departs just two hours before 6E 11 from Delhi. On the return journey, 6E 16 departs less than an hour before 6E 12 from Istanbul. 6E 15 is a bit more convenient from a tourist’s perspective, but I would prefer the A321neo instead. Here is the complete IndiGo Istanbul schedule for reference.
6E 15 DEL 1145 – 1545 IST
6E 11 DEL 1400 – 1815 IST
6E 16 IST 1950 – 0410 DEL
6E 12 IST 2035 – 0505 DEL
Be prepared for cold sandwiches and ready-to-eat food.
IndiGo is offering some cheap, consistent INR 24k roundtrip fares on Delhi – Istanbul flight. Plus the timings make it a convenient connection from almost all destinations served by IndiGo in India from Delhi.
IndiGo signed their first codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines last year. While we knew that it covered twenty destinations on Turkish Airlines network from Istanbul, but we don’t what those destinations are yet. If you look at IndiGo’s flight timings to and from Istanbul, it provides convenient connections to Turkish Airlines domestic flights as well as flights to Europe including London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and so-on. Even summer seasonal TK 11/12 could offer convenient connections to JFK.
With this, IndiGo utilises all bilateral rights of 14x weekly frequency on the Indian side as well. IndiGo is using the same strategy it applies for all new destinations whether international or domestic; carpet bomb the sector with your frequency. Unless the Indian Government amends the bilaterals to add more seats and frequencies, no more flights to Istanbul from other Indian cities. Or perhaps the second flight from Delhi is a placeholder while IndiGo figures out flights from another city to Istanbul.
What do you make of the new move from IndiGo to crowd out the Istanbul route? Is it that popular a route?