IndiGo to fly to 5 Indian cities

Budget airline plans tie-up with retailers and banks

IndiGo, the youngest Indian budget airline, will start flying to five new Indian cities next month, Adithya Ghosh, President and Chief Executive Officer of IndiGo announced in Dubai.

The problems currently faced by private airlines in India will not deter IndiGo from going ahead with its ambitious expansion plans, Ghosh added.

Launching an Arabic website of the airline for Middle East travellers, Indian Ambasador to the UAE N. K. Lokesh said the Indian community in the UAE seeks more efficient and affordable airlines.

The Ambassador also said the India-UAE civil aviation agreement will be reviewed in view of the demand for new seats from UAE-based airlines like RAK Airlines. Lokesh said: “IndiGo is known for its consistency and professionalism and they are always open to new ideas.”

Ten months after launching its first flight from Dubai, IndiGo will have six daily flights from Dubai. It is adding four extra flights to five new destinations.

IndiGo is the only Indian airline operating out of Dubai which has its own Arabic website for business and leisure travellers from the region.

The troubles faced by Kingfisher airline, a major competitor in the private sector and the prolonged strike by the national carrier’s pilots, are helping airlines like IndiGo to take advantage of the forthcoming summer school vacation. Other private carriers like Jet Airways and SpiceJet have also announced new plans for the summer season.

“Traditional airlines have let the Indian community down and people are talking about starting a ferry service from Fujairah to India or starting a Kerala-based airline. InDigo is the only private carrier which consistently made profits in the last four years,” Ghosh said.

He said while some of the airlines linking India and the Middle East are efficient, they are very expensive for the common man. IndiGo is launching its services to Kochi, Hyderabad, Chennai with an initial one-way fare of Dh367. Airline officials said all tickets offered as per the original plan have been sold out and IndiGo may consider adding more cheaper tickets.

IndiGo is offering a baggage allowance of 30 kilos, tie up with local banks and retail chains to facilitate payments, ticket delivery and promotions. It is also hoping to start flights to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The timings of the flights to South India have also been changed to suit passengers’ convenience. “Passengers who book their ticket online can make the payment at the retail chain outlets and get the ticket delivered,” he said, without naming the supermarket chains.

Announcing expansion of its international operations, Ghosh said the airline will add more South Indian destinations in August 2012. “Effective August 2012, IndiGo will operate flights to Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi from Dubai. IndiGo will be offering introductory return fare of Dh 734 (Indian Rupees 11,200) on the new flights. IndiGo will also start its second daily and direct Delhi-Dubai and Delhi-Bangkok flights,” he added.

Ghosh said the carrier now controls 24.95 per cent of the Indian civil aviation market, and claimed that it is growing because most of its flights are on time and it has the least number of cancellations. Unlike Kingfisher, which could not keep its cost low, Ghosh said his airline has 99 per cent despatch reliability. With a fleet of 57 new Airbus 320 aircraft, the airline offers 351 daily flights connecting 32 destinations.

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