SP's Airbuz



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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