IndiGo wanted to head to London, becoming a long-haul player of note, but it knows its current model of cutting and pasting the domestic passenger experience on international flights does not work for flights longer than 4-5 hours, as the Istanbul experience shows. In the meanwhile, they’ve been filing and receiving slots in London, but they haven’t made a move forward on the plan, and Jazeera Airways of Kuwait has stolen a march over them, offering sort of one of the first low-cost experience between India and London on a one-stop flight.
IndiGo, it seems, has for the moment, given up on their attempt to fly to London one-stop. In an interview given to CNBC-TV18 yesterday, IndiGo’s CCO William Boulter confirmed the move. He said,
We did have slots to operate to London Gatwick but we chose not to use them. It is fair to say that London is the largest market but at the moment, we have a fleet that necessitates midpoint and we have looked at a number of midpoints to London and we have also looked at the operational feasibility of the route. But at the moment it is not something on the immediate next list. It is still something that we think about but we haven’t confirmed it.
After a long time, we finally see there is some closure on this front. You see, for launching London flights, the airline would have had to keep their fares really low to get people to switch from other airlines, go away from their standardised model and offer meals and a premium cabin of some sort and basically change their business model a bit. Also, at some point in time in the coming days, Vistara will enter the market as well since they have fast-tracked the delivery of their Boeing 787s and this would mean even lesser wriggle room for IndiGo.
Overall, I am happy Indian passengers won’t have to suffer 9-hour flights without amenities for the moment. What do you make of the IndiGo decision to not fly to London right now?