IndiGo signed a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines last year and followed it up with announcing flights to Istanbul to be operated by their A321neo. IndiGo’s Istanbul Delhi is the longest flight for the airline at the moment. Last month, they increased the frequency on Delhi – Istanbul to double daily, with the second frequency to be operated on an A320.
Currently, IndiGo operates 6E 11 to Istanbul with a technical stop. You can catch the review of the inaugural flight to Istanbul here. However, IndiGo didn’t change the schedule for their second frequency, 6E 15/16, which was due to be launched on March 25 (yesterday). So, was IndiGo going to startof the second daily flight to Istanbul or not?
Well, IndiGo’s second daily flight, 6E 15/16 on the Delhi – Istanbul route, was cancelled for yesterday and today at least. IndiGo isn’t accepting bookings for 6E 15/16 till March 30.
From March 31, 2019, to April 30, 2019, tickets are only available in higher fare buckets. A roundtrip on 6E 15/16 on Delhi-Istanbul route averages INR 72-74K. On the flights operated by the A321neo, IndiGo is selling them for INR 25K roundtrip at the moment.
Fares are back to normal only from May 1, 2019.
Also, IndiGo is not displaying the cancellations on its website in this case.
Now, due to Pakistan airspace closure, there is a massive impact on flight operations. But IndiGo could have adjusted the schedule of the second daily flight and have a technical stop just like 6E 11 to Istanbul. Maybe the economics didn’t work out on the longer route with a stop.
Or, another question to ask, was there enough demand for a second daily flight from Delhi? The codeshare came into effect just a few days ago and that too on only five destinations; if at all they were banking on it.
IndiGo hasn’t taken delivery of any more A321neo aircraft, except VT-IUA which was delivered in December 2018. Currently, four A321neo aircraft are at various stages of preparation, almost ready to be delivered. But there aren’t any additional test flights happening since February 2019. So is IndiGo deferring the deliveries of new aircraft?
VT-IUB, the second A321neo could have been delivered in 2018 itself but was put into storage without any test flights. It was brought back in February 2019 and completed 2 test flights.
— Tobi (@Tobias_Gudat) December 3, 2018
VT-IUC completed a test flight in February 2019, but no more flight tests have been conducted post that. Other A321neos, VT-IUD and VT-IUE are yet to perform their first test flights.
— Tobi (@Tobias_Gudat) February 7, 2019
IndiGo might have gotten ahead of itself, but wanted to make sure that they collect all the respective rights from India to Istanbul available to an Indian carrier (14 weekly flights available to an Indian carrier). Else, someone else, such as GoAir, Jet Airways or Vistara could have used the bilateral rights by launching a new flight to Istanbul.
Another reason that comes to mind is that IndiGo may want to operate the second flight after the transition to Istanbul new airport which will happen between April 5-7.
At LiveFromALounge, we had expected that the second frequency would fly from another city, such as Mumbai, or maybe even Bangalore or Hyderabad.
So, announcing the second daily flight on an A320 without waiting for an A321neo might have been a placeholder decision. IndiGo hasn’t disclosed a new launch date for second daily flight 6E 15/16 on Delhi-Istanbul route yet.
What do you think about the eventual launch of 6E15/16 for IndiGo? Will it ever fly?
Also hoping someone booked on the second flight could share their version of what happened to it?