IndiGo’s A321neos Cost 10% Less Per Passenger Than Its A320neos

During its earnings call today, IndiGo revealed the efficiency of its growing Airbus A321neo fleet. The aircraft offers 10% lesser unit costs compared to the already-efficient A320neo, a significant saving for the airline. Let’s find out more about the ‘A321 effect’ at IndiGo.

IndiGo A321neo
IndiGo’s A321neo fleet has grown by almost 300% in the last year, increasing its impact on the fleet. Photo: Airbus

Critical

IndiGo currently operates a fleet of 40 Airbus A321neos, all but 10 of which were delivered since last year. These aircraft have played an important role in the fleet since their induction, according to CEO Ronojoy Dutta. In addition to opening up new routes such as Istanbul, the plane brings a host of efficiency benefits.

IndiGo’s A321neo come equipped with 232 seats (the first 13 came with 222 seats), one of the densest in the world (though not beating Wizz Air). The larger number of seats, combined with fuel-saving LEAP-1A engines, means that the A321neo offers 10% lower unit costs when compared to the 186-seat A320neo.

IndiGo Airbus A321neo
IndiGo’s A321neo comes equipped with 232 seats in a 3-3 layout, with a seat pitch of 30 inches. Photo: Bahnfrend via Wikimedia Common

The A321neos have had a two-fold benefit, with CEO Ronojoy Dutta saying today,

“The A321 effect is driven by two things, it’s more efficient cost-wise and flying in a very targeted way on the right routes.”

Domestic flights

Currently, only eight out of IndiGo’s 40 A321neos are in active service, according to ch-aviation. This figure has been impacted by India’s severe second wave and the government’s intervention and reduction of capacity. However, these planes have not reached their full potential due to the pandemic.

The A321neos were originally meant to allow IndiGo to add new, longer international flights. The Delhi-Istanbul route was a direct result of the addition of this aircraft, with more in the pipeline. However, with international capacity largely curtailed due to travel restrictions, most A321neos have remained in parking.

IndiGo A320neo
Lower demand means that IndiGo’s A320neos have been doing the heavy lifting during the pandemic. Photo: Airbus

However, the second use of the A321neos has been going strong. The larger aircraft are routinely deployed on domestic routes of Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai. With the A321neo offer almost 25% more seats than the standard variant, IndiGo has taken advantage of high-demand routes and periods to boost capacity. This has enabled the continued use of the aircraft even after COVID-19 hit.

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More to come

While IndiGo has already added a staggering 30 A321neos since last year, the airline is not planning on slowing down deliveries. This is because the carrier is currently in the middle of an ambitious fleet modernization program, which will see all of its A320-200s return to lessors. To replace these aircraft, IndiGo is adding new A320 and A321neos.

IndiGo A321neo
IndiGo received the 1,000 A320neo family aircraft in 2019, which was also an A321neo. Photo: Airbus

During the earnings call today, the airline confirmed that IndiGo plans to press on with its delivery schedule. This means anywhere between 40 to 45 aircraft could be added in 2021, similar to the figure from last year. This will undoubtedly increase the A321neo fleet size as well, so expect to see this plane on many more routes as domestic demand returns and international traffic opens up.

What do you think about IndiGo’s A321neo fleet? Have you ever flown on one? Let us know in the comments below! 

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