Indigo Airlines operates its airplanes based on single airplane fleet. From its inception, it has banked upon the reliability of A320s from the Airbus group for its operations. This is considered to be the best single aisle airliner with 180 seat configuration that permits economies of fuel efficiency. One single reason why Indigo is choosing A320neos for its next line of fleet is that it allows per-seat fuel efficiency of 20 percent over the previous model. The word ‘NEO’ refers to New Engine Option. The present A320s are now called as A320ceos, after Current Engine Option.
Indigo will shortly be having the approval of DGCA for operating these airplanes. Under the Indian civil aviation laws, airline companies have to seek approval of the regulator (DGCA) for their choice of airplanes. Indigo is expected to get this approval in first week of March, paving the way for their incorporation into its fleet. After their incorporation, the airline fleet will further help in cutting down fuel consumption which will help in meeting climate change concerns as well as be able to offer cheaper air ticket to the customers.
Indigo Airlines is adding more destinations and flights to its kitty. Close on the heels of locking horns with new entrants Vistara and AirAsia, Indigo is quitely expanding its network as well as frequency of flights. It recently announced operation of flights to 10 more destinations. And, now it has announced direct flight from Delhi to Dibrugarh in Assam. With this flight, it will have yet another foothold in this region.
Currently Indigo flights to Dibrugarh are operated from Guwahati and Kolkata. Passengers have to first reach these two cities and then take a connecting flight to this city. With Delhi being directly in touch, the people from north-east living and working in the capital would soon be able to fly directly saving them hassles of making connections.
If you want to check for other destinations which the carrier reaches in north-east, please refer to the main navigation menu, under ‘Indigo Flight Schedule’.
Among the recent news items that made headlines for Indigo airlines was the unruly passenger behavior which led to many people being deplaned from its flights. Though such incidents are rare, a few of these happened quite frequently in the last few months. Here are some of these headline grabbing news from different sections of press.
- Deplaning of 3 passengers Mumbai-Ahmedabad Route
- Drunk Passenger offloaded along with wife
- 70 passengers offloaded
These incidents has initiated a debate on how to tackle the unruly behaviour of passengers during the flight, which can become a major security concern mid-air. Since airlines would not like to take chances with other passengers’ security, they would surely deplane them.
Recently, DGCA has permitted the airlines to use the plastic handcuffs to restrain these types of passengers.
Airlines have special provisions for taking care of infants, classified as children below 2 years of age. Some airlines would allow them more baggage allowance in cabin and check in, permit car seats, provide bassinets and even have child restraint devices. While talking of IndiGo, here are some provisions related to the infant travel:
- Infants are required to be seated on the lap of an adult. There is no permission given to take strollers/prams etc inside the cabin. These are allowed only till the cabin gate and from thereon these are taken into hold. Since these have to be kept in hold, it is very important that these strollers or prams are fully collapsible. These are not a part of check in baggage.
- Infants are allowed 1 cabin bag allowance of 7kg on domestic flights and 1 check in bag on international flights.
- There is a charge of Rs 1000 for having an infant on the flight. There is no separate ticket for the infant.
- Infants ID is also required at the time of check in. In fact, passengers travelling with infants are not allowed to web check in. They have to arrive at the check in counter of airline at airport. While their Birth Certificate is a valid ID, you can also present a number of other documents. Since Birth certificate might not have been made till then, discharge summary of mother and hospital records can also be shown.
- If the infant turns 2 years of age or more while on return journey taken on IndiGo airline, and you know that this will happen during the return journey, you are required to book tickets for return journey for the child as well. This will also make the child eligible for availing same baggage allowances as that of an adult.
If you have more queries relating to provisions for infants on Indigo, please feel free to ask us here…
Indigo operates on the low cost carrier model. This model has become so popular in aviation that many full-service carriers have also launched their new airlines with dedicated short-haul flights. Well, it was the Southwest Airlines of USA which pioneered this model of civil aviation in early 1970s and is still running successfully for the last 45 years. This American airlines showed the way to the world, caused consternation in full-service carriers, made air travel affordable for people, removed the elitist auora and proved that airline can be run profitably with operational efficiency and low-priced tickets.
Airlines around the world have since adopted this model and most of them have remained successful. IndiGo Airlines is one of these. Though these airlines have done their own variations of this model, the underlying concept and its essential tenets remain the same. So, what is it that makes this model so successful?
- Short-haul flights: Budget airlines do not fly distances which are more than 4 hours (with a few hours here and there) away. Anything within this flight time range is highly feasible. In India, you can cover the length and breadth of this country within this time-frame which makes it highly suitable for these short-haul flights. It is not that airplanes used by these carriers can not fly more than this distance. It is just that by flying short distances, airlines are able to cut down on a number of amenities which passengers would need for flying longer distance. For example, they would be needing more comfortable seating with more legroom and wider seats with greater reclines. They would also need meals and entertainment facilities. Adding meals would inevitably mean more costs in catering, cabin crew, cutlery and maintenance of airplanes as well. This all pushes up the costs of air tickets
- No-frills carriers: By adding entertainment, meals and other services like legacy carriers, which passengers can do without on short haul distances, airlines not only increase the costs, it also adds to the weight of aircraft making it less fuel efficient. Meals are not free, even if these are provided. Budget carriers like IndiGo do not presume that meals would be required for 3-4 hours flights. Even if these are needed, it does allow dry snacks and other food which is non-oily, non-smell and non-messy in nature.
- Fuel Efficiency: Prime focus is fuel efficiency and since fuel costs make almost 35% of operational costs of airlines, achieving more efficiency through all possible means is very important. Whether it is the weight of fitments on the airplane, baggage allowance limits, lesser turnaround times at airports, higher on-time performance records, using modern navigation methods and using modern airplanes with higher efficiency of fuel consumption are some of the ways which they use to reduce costs.
- Aircraft leasing costs: Airlines lease aircrafts from manufacturers which involves leasing costs. By purchasing airplanes in bulk, IndiGo was able to negotiate highly favourable leasing costs which helped it to reduce costs further.
- Single Plane, Single Cabin Class: IndiGo has only one type of airplanes. These are the 180-seater A320 airplanes. By using only 1 type of airplane, there is less maintenance cost to be entailed. More are the different models and makes of the aircraft, more are different engineering staff is required for its maintenance. Similarly, by keeping only economy class of cabin, it is able to price its ticket better, fly with optimal seating arrangements and with maximum number of passengers on board.
Indigo has the plans to launch flights to Doha from New Delhi in this year. The airline flies to Dubai and Muscat in the Gulf region. Other foreign destinations that it reaches are Bangkok, Kathmandu and Singapore with a total of about 210 weekly flights. Dubai is the most connected one as it can be reached from 7 Indian cities at present.
Doha flights are operated by full service carriers Air India Express and Jet Airways at present. And, it is essentially from the southern region that these flights are operated. So, it makes a big decision to launch flights to Doha. Naturally, the current airlines operating on this route are expected to feel the heat as IndiGo is known for highly professional and customer-centric no-frills approach to aviation.
For the benefit of readers let us mention that IndiGo earns 10 percent of its revenue from foreign operations and there are many destinations which are lying unexplored. Whether IndiGo will be able to turn it into a success story is a matter of speculation since the allocated capacity to the existing airline operators to Doha has not been fully utilized. However, it must also be mentioned that none of the current Indian carriers flying to Doha are low cost carriers. So, the market potential will be tested with the entry of IndiGo.
Since it will operate from New Delhi, which has a vast hinterland, there will be a boost to trade and commerce and even to tourism.
The tally of IndiGo daily flights has risen by 8. It now stands at 679. The new flights added to its schedule are:
Chennai- Kochi, Kochi-Chennai
Delhi- Guwahati, Guwahati- Delhi
Hyderabad-Delhi, Delhi- Hyderabad
Delhi- Chennai, Chennai-Delhi
The new routes will further enhance connectivity. This announcement has come in the wake of IndiGo shares losing their sheen over a 4-day period.
Indigo, the largest Indian carrier in terms of passengers flown, has recorded the highest profit for third quarter ended December 2015 which is a good 24 % high than the same achieved in the same period in previous year. It achieved a profit of Rs 657.3 crores in 2015 as compared with 531.6 crores in 2014 Q3.
Indigo Crash (courtesy:Economic Times)
However, just a day after, the stocks of the airline slumped a massive 19 percent, sending everyone guessing. Most observers feel that there are two main reasons for this. One, the performance in Q2 was rather subdued which meant that the airline was not as profitable as it was in Q1. Second, there was a news of delay in the delivery of fuel efficient new airbus aircraft A320neo version by Airbus which meant longer leases were to be secured for old airplanes, which directly impacts its future profitability.