For the past few months, IndiGo had been rapidly expanding its international operations. We saw a whole lot of new routes being added in the second half of 2018.
- IndiGo expands to Middle-East
- IndiGo adds flights to Kuala Lumpur
- IndiGo adds more flights to Middle-East, Far-East and Maldives
In December 2018, IndiGo took delivery of its first A321neo, VT-IUA. IndiGo still has 149 more A321neo on order. In January 2019, IndiGo added a new route to Istanbul after its first codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. Just one month after announcing the route, IndiGo added a second daily flight on Delhi-Istanbul sector but with an A320.
Due to Pakistan airspace closure, IndiGo had to add a technical stop at Doha for 6E 11 from Delhi to Istanbul. While the return flight to Delhi would operate non-stop. You can catch the trip report for the inaugural flight to Istanbul here. Following this, IndiGo delayed the launch of the second daily Delhi-Istanbul flight to May 2019.
Earlier in April, some Jet Airways slots were redistributed. IndiGo added quite a few flights from Mumbai Terminal 2. IndiGo followed it up by adding more Middle – East flights from Mumbai. Around that time, we knew that IndiGo had postponed the launch of second daily Delhi – Istanbul flight to July 1, 2019.
The aircraft which was to be deployed on that route would now be used to add temporary flights from Mumbai. It looks like IndiGo has pushed back the launch date even further to August 1, 2019 for now.
On going through the summer scheduled filed with DGCA, I noticed IndiGo hadn’t filed a schedule for the second daily flight to Istanbul. So the question remains the same, Will IndiGo ever add a second daily non-stop flight from Delhi? Or will it be from any other station like Mumbai or Bengaluru?
Due to prolonged delay in the opening of the Pakistan airspace, from May 7, 2019, the inbound flight, 6E 12 from Istanbul to Delhi will have a technical stop at Ahmedabad, while the outward journey to Istanbul from Delhi will continue to have a technical stop at Doha. So, now it is essentially a one-stop journey both ways.
This is probably because of winds and IndiGo wouldn’t want to weight restrict the aircraft. 6E 12 from Istanbul to Delhi has had technical stops at Ahmedabad in the past also.
IndiGo does have ambitious plans for its Istanbul operations. Under the codeshare agreement, IndiGo has filed to codeshare on Turkish Airlines flights to the USA and Canada in addition to flights to Europe. Those flights aren’t currently bookable though.
Other IndiGo international route suspensions temporarily
In addition to this, IndiGo is temporarily suspending three other flights. IndiGo launched Ahmedabad – Doha and Thiruvananthapuram – Doha in October 2018. The rotation was TRV-DOH-AMD-DOH-TRV. The routes will be temporarily suspended from May 1, 2019, to August 1, 2019.
IndiGo launched Bengaluru – Phuket to compete with GoAir’s Bengaluru-Phuket flight. IndiGo will temporarily suspend the 6x weekly flights for two months from May 1, 2019, to July 17, 2019.
GoAir even took a dig at IndiGo following temporary route suspension by IndiGo.
The trip that you just can't skip!
Make the most of your day in #Phuket with the ONLY direct flight from #Bengaluru. #FlySmartNonstop at fares starting 6299*
Book now: https://t.co/icAYGGiT2s pic.twitter.com/7Yn9RbLghS
— GoAir (@goairlinesindia) April 22, 2019
Aircraft from the above-suspended routes will be deployed on the second round of temporary flights which are added from Mumbai and Delhi Terminal 2 using Jet Airways slots. All the above routes were launched a few months back only. IndiGo is adding capacity (A320neo) as per the standard delivery, which is used both for existing network expansions as well as temporary flights.
The A321neo deliveries have been delayed so far. Four more A321neo (VT-IUB/C/D/E) has been ready for tests (some have completed tests) for months. There are even more A321neos in the production line.
Good news is the A321neo deliveries are resuming. VT-IUB will be delivered to IndiGo shortly in the next few days. Initially, it was scheduled to fly to Delhi on April 26, 2019, but it has been delayed. We don’t know why IndiGo was delaying the deliveries for A321neo yet. Is IndiGo rethinking its strategy to offer slimline seats onboard the A321neo? Or is it just a lack of pilots?
Where will IndiGo deploy the incoming A321neos? Will they be deployed on new International routes like China which will account for more than 30% of IndiGo’s growth this year? Or will they be deployed to add capacity on domestic routes temporarily in the busy summer season?
Will IndiGo ever add its second daily Delhi-Istanbul flight? What are your thoughts on temporary route suspensions?