India’s largest airline by passenger share, IndiGo is actively considering inducting at least 50 wide-body aircraft for long-haul flights, according to a report by The Economic Times.
The low-cost carrier could induct its own wide-bodied planes as Air India’s divestment process could take a while. IndiGo had earlier shown interest in buying Air India’s international operations.
“Right now, it’s an optimistic 50-50, but the processes are slow. The airline will wait for four-five months and then implement Plan B of inducting its own fleet of wide-bodied planes,” a person familiar with the development told the newspaper.
The airline currently has a fleet of 143 Airbus A320 and A320 (single aisle) planes. It has also ordered 380 A320neo, 25 A321neo and has received the first of its 50 ATR 72-300 planes.
While the ATR 72-300s are expected to be deployed on smaller routes as part of the regional connectivity scheme flights, the low-cost carrier would require larger twin-aisle planes to fly long-haul flights.
According to the ET report, the order for wide-body planes would be over and above the existing orders. There are two options – the 250-plus-seater Airbus A330-800neo or the 270-seater A350-800. However, the A350 would not be delivered before 2021.
Interest in Air India’s international operations
In July, IndiGo had expressed interest in taking over Air India’s international operations.
Earlier this year, IndiGo’s co-promoter Rakesh Gangwal had said that the airline was in a position to fly long-haul flights on a low-cost model and that it’s proposed investment in the state carrier was a way to enable that.