IndiGo might induct Qatar Airways’ Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to survive plane shortage

In the world of aviation, one should never say never. And what airline is the current poster boy of being flexible and doing whatever it takes to keep the network alive and growing? IndiGo. Fly a widebody? Naah. Have a loyalty programme? Naah. And fly only with the A320 family aircraft? naah. And all of those, they made a change of heart later.

IndiGo plans to induct 737 MAX Aircraft from Qatar Airways.

IndiGo had 40-45 aircraft already on the ground and another 30 or so grounded because of the new issues that surfaced with their Pratt and Whitney GTF Engines, taking the number of grounded aircraft to over 70 (as per IndiGo’s recent disclosure in their Q3FY24 Results Earnings Call).

a plane on the tarmac

IndiGo has already been using the Turkish Airlines’ wet-leased 777 jets for flights between India and Istanbul. They’ve also wet-leased about a dozen A320 jets (11, to be precise) from a European carrier. While scouring for more A320 aircraft is ongoing, the airline is now considering adding some Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to its fleet on a damp lease to ride through the shortage of aircraft. The “speculation” around this move emerged on X (Formerly Twitter).

As per The Economic Times, IndiGo plans to induct up to five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on a damp lease from Qatar Airways. QR has nine of these in its fleet, as per its website. In a damp lease arrangement, Qatar Airways will provide the aircraft, maintenance and cockpit crew, while IndiGo will staff the aircraft with its own cabin crew.

To ensure that the aircraft can be maintained, the airline will use these aircraft for flights to Qatar, just like it exclusively uses the Boeing 777 aircraft for flights to Istanbul. So, the aircraft will return to Qatar at the end of their rotation.

Qatar Airways has only recently inducted the Boeing 737 MAX 8 into its fleet, with all nine aircraft coming into the fleet between April and June 2023. The airline currently uses the aircraft to fly short-haul within the Middle East itself, and the furthest they take them to is Baku and Tlibisi in Central Asia. Each 737 8 aircraft has 168 Economy Class seats and 8 Business Class seats.

India and Qatar have a bilateral agreement for 25,000 seats flown per week for each side’s carriers, an agreement that was last revised in 2009 and completely exhausted by the Qatari side. In this case, Qatar Airways gets to ply the passengers and generate revenue, while IndiGo issues the tickets and keeps a share of the revenue. The seat count used here will be from the Indian side of the bilateral quota.


While the exact timeline for this move is not yet determined, IndiGo is laying the groundwork to induct up to five Boeing 737 MAX 8 Aircraft from its codeshare partner airline, Qatar Airways. The airline will use these aircraft to operate at international capacity, freeing up its own aircraft, which are available for other routes. The Qatar Airways 737 MAX 8s are equipped with 168 Economy and 8 Business Class seats.

What do you think of this new move by IndiGo to add capacity via a damp lease from Qatar Airways?

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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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