IndiGo Plans To Add Over 100 Small Aircraft To Strengthen Domestic Routes

IndiGo, India’s largest airline, is negotiating with ATR, Embraer, and Airbus for at least 100 smaller aircraft to expand its regional network.

What Happened: Per an ET report, the airline, which will receive five more ATR-72 planes this year to add to its current fleet of 45, is likely to continue partnering with ATR to take advantage of cost savings. However, the Airbus A220 and Embraer's E-175 are also contenders.

Following its commitment to the international market with an order of 30 Airbus A350-900s on April 25, IndiGo is now focusing on strengthening its domestic presence. The airline dominates 60% of India's domestic air traffic and sees potential growth in smaller cities, driven by better airport facilities and the government's regional air connectivity scheme, UDAN.

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IndiGo first ventured into regional aviation in 2017 by ordering 50 ATR-72s, breaking into a market previously monopolized by SpiceJet. With the ATR-72s, IndiGo has managed to make it cost-effective to serve new destinations with lower passenger numbers, and has grown to connect about 60 locations, including recent additions like Gondia and Lakshadweep.

Why it matters: This strategy allows IndiGo later to replace these smaller planes with larger Airbus models once market demand increases. Meanwhile, competitors like SpiceJet and Flybig have struggled to maintain service on UDAN routes after the exclusivity period ends. For example, IndiGo’s entry into Jharsuguda increased service reliability with fewer cancellations, according to a local travel agent.

IndiGo’s flexibility has also improved, allowing it to schedule flights during off-peak hours between cities. With upcoming investments post-election, government officials expect a boost in regional connectivity, improving economic productivity.

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