Oh how the mighty have fallen. IndiGo, the airline which you could trust with getting you on time, seems to be going under the pressure of their own explosive growth. Since this past weekend, February 7 to be specific, IndiGo has been cancelling tonnes of flights, sometimes 75+ a day. So why are IndiGo airlines cancellations happening?
Last weekend, on Saturday & Sunday, as the hailstorm hit north and east India IndiGo cancelled 76 flights on each of these days. Thanks to their cancellations, indeed, other airlines were selling last minute tickets at eye-watering fares, such as Hyderabad – Delhi for INR 28,000. From there, IndiGo cancelled 49 flights yesterday, largely from their Bangalore and Hyderabad base.
As per IndiGo’s official statement,
the cancellations were caused by several factors like anticipated weather conditions and NOTAMS at various airports resulting in extended duty times which made it necessary to re-roster crew and optimise operations.
While I can understand that is how it worked out for the weekend gone by, IndiGo has continued to cancel flights all the way into the middle of the week. IndiGo is now stating that they will proactively cancel 2% of their scheduled flights, which means about 30 flights a day, till the end of March. Accordingly, IndiGo is proactively reaching out to customers and putting them on other flights.
There are disruptions at the Bangalore airport and Mumbai airport, which are temporary, but IndiGo is now stating these as the reason for cancelling their flights all the way through March 2019, not for a moment stating the other obvious reason. IndiGo does not have enough pilots to operate the flights as well. As per IndiGo,
Going forward IndiGo has decided to curtail its schedule for the remaining period of February by approximately 30 flights a day. This is in order to stabilize its operation and adjust its crew rosters due to the reasons mentioned above. Passengers are in the process of being informed and re-accommodated. As a proactive measure, IndiGo has decided to continue its curtailment until the end of March. This measure has already been implemented and passengers informed. These medium-term cancellations have been made to minimize the impact on passengers as alternative travel options have been offered well in advance.
This comes at a time when Jet Airways has had to truncate their schedule due to their financial situation at the moment.
There could be many reasons for this pilot shortage. Existing pilots can fly only 1000 hours in a period of 12 months, so given IndiGo’s explosive growth on the A320 family equipment, they may have had a mismatch in pilots required and the aircraft they’ve inducted in the fleet.
If you are booked on IndiGo in the coming months, check your flight schedules continuously. We don’t know yet which exact flights are going to be cancelled. So make sure you have your contact information updated in your PNR for the airline to inform you if things go south. That same advice follows for me and my own household where Shipra, myself and our folks are booked on quite a few IndiGo flights.
Have you been impacted personally by the IndiGo airline cancellations over the past few days?