- IndiGo is in talks with Boeing and Airbus for a new order of widebody aircraft.
- The airline aims to double its capacity by the end of the decade.
- IndiGo’s partnership with Turkish Airlines has allowed it to begin international operations with Boeing 777 aircraft, but it needs its own widebody to meet the demand within India’s domestic market.
IndiGo is reportedly nearing a sizable order of 25 Boeing 787 widebody aircraft. The Indian giant is looking to expand internationally and offer more destinations outside of the subcontinent. According to Reuters, the airline has been in talks with Boeing regarding its 787 family of jets, but Airbus isn’t out of the picture yet – its line of A330neo aircraft is reportedly under consideration too.
Sources familiar with the situation have told Reuters that IndiGo is leaning towards ordering the Boeing 787, although no final decision has been reached. IndiGo did not immediately respond when reached for comment.
No final decision has been made
Since March, IndiGo has been in talks with both Boeing and Airbus regarding its widebody plans. Having fuel-efficient, modern, high-capacity aircraft will allow the airline to continue its expansion into new markets. IndiGo has recently launched new routes to Africa and Asia-Pacific and has partnered with several airlines in Europe. Its continued goal is to double its capacity by the end of the decade, and expanding its route variety goes hand in hand with this goal.
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Its recent partnership with Turkish Airlines has also provided other benefits. The partnership is a codeshare agreement, but the close working relationship with Turkish Airlines has allowed IndiGo to begin international operations with a Boeing 777 leased, including pilots, from Turkish.
But the world is a big place, and operating its own aircraft will allow IndiGo to drive down the costs even further. Although this seems like a big move for a low-cost carrier, given the huge backlog of orders at both Boeing and Airbus, brand-new owned airplanes are still some years away. IndiGo could look to shorten this wait by partnering with a lessor who already has inventory or nearby delivery slots.
Expansion in all directions
While the 777 will continue to be the workhorse for its international operations, IndiGo is keen to capitalize on the huge demand for travel within its own country. Although the airline has a robust market share of 58%, India’s domestic market is a competitive and crowded space, particularly since the arrival of Akasa on the scene. To stay competitive, IndiGo wants to double its capacity within the country.
This will be facilitated by a huge fleet of narrowbody aircraft working alongside any widebodies the airline does or doesn’t buy. During Paris Air Show this year, the airline placed a record-breaking order for new Airbus A320 aircraft, taking its backlog with Airbus to more than 1,000 planes.
Photo: Phuong D. Nguyen | Shutterstock
Weeks later, details of the order were revealed, indicating it was split between the A321neo and the A320neo, showing a preference for the larger airplane. Specifically, the order was for 125 A320neo and 375 A321neo. Some of those could be converted to the XLR long-range variant in the future, although IndiGo already ordered 69 of those in Paris in 2019. It could, however, reach the UK with the XLR, opening up an interesting secondary market for longer and thinner routes to the subcontinent.
IndiGo has been a big supporter of the Airbus A320 aircraft line over the years. Beginning in 2005, the airline ordered 100 A320s and an additional 180 in 2011. Just three years after that, it ordered an additional 250 A320neos. Finally, the airline ordered 300 more in 2019. Along with the addition of the airline’s most recent order, IndiGo is set to receive 1,330 A320 aircraft.