Indigo is one of India’s most successful airlines. They grew from a small, domestic carrier operating a handful of flights, to the largest domestic carrier. The airline placed the largest aircraft order in history a few years back. Their order backlog consists of over 400 aircraft, compared to the only 138 they have right now. Indigo is a major success story in the low cost carrier market, and it seems they want to expand their success even further.
Will Indigo Launch Long Haul Flights?
A few weeks ago, Live from a Lounge reported that the airline is looking into expanding their footprint internationally. Indigo has been discussing with Airbus about purchasing some A330s in order to fulfill this mission. The airline has also been looking into purchasing the international arm of Air India. If they can purchase Air India’s international routes, it would serve as a major paradigm shift in the Indian aviation market. It would be the first time that a major legacy carrier succumbs completely to an LCC.
Where did Indigo get their idea?
Indigo seems to be inspired by other successful LCCs. Their most direct example would be Norwegian, but also WOW Air and AirAsia X are good models to follow. Indigo will be able to expand with the convenient slots Air India has at many international airports, such as Heathrow and New York. I don’t know if this idea will come to fruition, but it is fun to entertain.
What to realistically expect?
For the foreseeable future, Indigo will remain the largest domestic carrier in India. They may begin expanding internationally by acquiring some A330s. They would probably begin flying to regional hubs, such as Dubai, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, among others. Indigo will continue to look into an opportunity to purchase Air India, and be able to acquire their slots and fleet. They argue that Air India is poorly run, and they have a better model (which I do not dispute, but I am hesitant to see Air India be purchased).
I honestly don’t know what to make of this. I would love to see Indigo launch long haul flights, but I don’t want them to purchase Air India. Here is my very far fetched idea that could play out in the next few months. American severed ties with Qatar and Etihad. Therefore, in order to improve connectivity in the region, they purchase a stake in Air India, and align it with China Southern, IAG (British Airways parent) and themselves. American may possibly push them into the oneWorld Alliance, opening up connections with Qatar Airways and other partners. At this point, Air India would remain a standalone company.
There are many, many ifs, buts, and maybes that need to happen for this plan to come to fruition, but I can see it as possible. If it were to happen, it would be a major asset for American and oneWorld. It will take a long time to see if this will happen. As a matter of fact, it will take a while to see if Indigo increases its international footprint.
What do you think? Should Indigo expand internationally? Should Indigo purchase Air India, or should Air India be purchased by a foreign carrier? Let us know!
All images from Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons.