DE­LAY IN PLANS OF IN­DIGO AIR­LINES

SP's Airbuz - - News Briefs -

High fuel price and air­craft ac­qui­si­tion costs have prompted In­diGo to have sec­ond thoughts on ac­quir­ing Air­bus A330­neo wide-body jets through which it had planned to launch low-cost, long-haul di­rect flights to Eu­ro­pean cities by the end of the year. In­stead, the air­line is weigh­ing op­tions to ac­quire the 206-seat A321LR to op­er­ate flights to Eu­ro­pean cities in nine-hour range. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive said that In­diGo would in­crease its in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions in West Asia, South­east Asia and China. In­diGo will also launch flights to Phuket, Is­tan­bul, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Kuwait, the Mal­dives and Kuala Lumpur be­tween Oc­to­ber 2018 and March 2019. What wor­ries the air­line in ac­quir­ing the wide bodies is that it doubts there will be size­able pas­sen­ger traf­fic to make the op­er­a­tions prof­itable. With ris­ing jet fuel price and cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tion mak­ing busi­ness tougher for air­lines, In­diGo may not yet ven­ture into a new op­er­a­tion.“Wide-body air­craft have al­most twice the op­er­a­tional costs com­pared with the nar­row-body air­craft. This means we need size­able pas­sen­ger traf­fic to cover the costs of the wide-body air­craft for each de­par­ture,” said a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the air­line who was aware of the plan.

In­diGo’s ri­val SpiceJet has also shelved plans of launch­ing flights to Lon­don, cit­ing high air­craft ac­qui­si­tion cost. “The ques­tion is the cost. The high cost of own­er­ship of new-gen­er­a­tion wide bodies is a ma­jor im­ped­i­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of long­haul, low-cost air travel,” SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said.

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