British Airways and Indigo discuss interlining, and why this may be a dream!

Indigo has been one of India’s best run airline operation, with typical LCC discipline running in their blood. I’ve written a bit about them in the past and how they grew to be India’s biggest domestic airline by marketshare about 6 months back.

Yesterday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that Indigo and British Airways were in talks for an interlining agreement. Media quickly ramped up the discussion to an investment deal by BA’s parent IAG into Indigo, talking about how Indigo was the best deal for an investment into Indian aviation.

Here is what is apparently happening as per the news report, already moving into speculation. The same reporter filed a report with Reuters, where he stated, an interlining agreement was being discussed, where tickets can be booked on both carriers on the same ticket, along with a smooth baggage transfer between both of them. This could lead to codesharing, and obviously an investment because that is the latest fad, to invest in Indian aviation.

While I am not totally rubbishing that these talks happened, I assume making them materialise is a far call. IAG, before Indigo, had taken Kingfisher under their wings, and also gotten them ready to join oneworld. However, the dream crashed before it started when Kingfisher’s membership was put on hold and then the airline went out of business.

Indigo works on a point-to-point principle, which means, it does not interline with any airline to be able to maintain its own schedule integrity. That translates into, no connecting flights, and hence no wait for incoming passengers or their bags to be loaded, or no stress of running around to transfer bags to an outbound carrier and deliver the passengers in time. Plus, at some stations, like Delhi, this is a big issue in theory, because Indigo domestic operates from a separate terminal and British Airways flies from Terminal 3.

If this were to go through, Indigo’s biggest USP is at risk, its on-time performance, which is the reason it has gained respect in the travel circles in India. Not to say LCC’s don’t do such deals. Emirates and Jet Airways both have deals in the USA with JetBlue, apart from 10 other carriers, where JetBlue carries passengers from their point of arrivals to their final destination. But with Indigo’s fanatic obsession about on-time performance, this may be a different ball game.

Obviously, we all know this will be a big discussion for days to come. Let’s see how long this carries on, and what other aspects get discussed. Avios for Indigo flights anyone? Or, do you foresee an eventual entry of Indigo into oneworld?

Bring it on…

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Interesting article AJ, and completely agree with your viewpoint. At the moment, nothing appears in it for Indigo. As you said, OTP is their major USP (alongside the youngest fleet) and it’ll become a lot harder to maintain for delayed codeshare flights.

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