Indian budget airline IndiGo has announced plans to start international services from the middle of 2011 and has submitted a proposal for the same to the aviation ministry. The announcement says that the airline will be operating fifteen international routes to start with.
The carrier has revealed that they have decided on the fifteen destinations that they would be keen to start operations to. These include: Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu, Jeddah, the Maldives, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Media reports say that the carrier is focusing on operating most of these flights from the airports in New Delhi and Mumbai, and hopes to operate flights to the West Asian regions from South India, preferable from Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram airports. Apart from these flights, the carrier will also operate flights between Chennai and Singapore, said the reports.
IndiGo is a popular low cost carrier in India, and has been operating flights for five years within the country. According to Indian aviation requirements a carrier has to complete five years of domestic operations before they can operate outside the country. Currently IndiGo enjoys a 16.8% of the market share in the Indian domestic passenger market and operates a fleet of 32 A320s. The carrier is working on getting about 16 Airbus A320 aircraft to complement the expansion of operations, which are expected to join in its fleet in a phased manner. Details of the flights that will be operated will be revealed in the carrier’s summer schedule.
Reports say that the carrier has already sought an in-principle approval from the government of India for 2011, which will help them to negotiate their terms and conditions with airports and vendors. This initial approval has been granted and the carrier is now working on getting rights to operate to each of the cities that are on their list of international destinations. Top officials have however, confirmed that the airline will definitely be flying overseas by August 2011, which means that the approvals coming through is only a matter of time.
It is expected that the strong demand from the domestic market for budget international flights will help the Indian aviation industry to grow greatly. As of now, even though here are a number of carriers that operate to these same international destinations, most of these are not budget airlines. IndiGo puts forth that there is still a lot of potential that can be tapped in the South East Asian, West Asian and South Asian regions, if low cost travel options are increased. Currently these regions are being serviced by Air India, Kingfisher, Jet Airways, the budget arm of Air India- Air India Express, and SpiceJet Ltd. The foreign airlines that are linking India to these regions are Air Arabia, Air Asia and Tiger Airways.
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