IndiGo has taken delivery of its first two ATR 72s since December 2019. Registered VT-IXS and VT-IXV, the aircraft arrived in New Delhi this week after a three-stop journey across Europe, Africa, and Asia. The arrivals mark the 27th ATR in IndiGo’s fleet and underline the growing demand for turboprops on regional routes in India.
Brand new arrivals
After over 18 months, IndiGo has taken delivery of its first ATR 72-600s. The two aircraft joined the fleet on 23rd and 25th June, signaling that the airline could be ready to take delivery of more planes in the near future. Eagle-eyed spotters on Twitter were quick to notice the new deliveries following the long pause. All of IndiGo’s ATRs come equipped with 78 seats in an all-economy 2-2 layout.
However, delivering the turboprops from their manufacturing site in Toulouse to New Delhi can be quite the challenge considering the ATR’s range of 800 nautical miles. To tackle this, the aircraft make multiple stops in nearby countries to complete the journey safely.
On this delivery flight, the planes stopped in three cities and began the journey at 11:10 AM local time in France, according to FlightAware. The first leg was from Toulouse to Heraklion, Greece, spanning 1,207 nautical miles and four hours and 43 minutes. The next flight landed in Sharm al-sheik Airport in Egypt, a more modest 645NM and two and a half hour journey.
Thanks to the lack of passengers and cargo onboard, the ATR can fly much further than its published maximum payload range. There are some other interesting techniques to increase the range for delivery flights too.
The next leg took the plane into Dubai World Central Airport- a 1,133NM journey that took just under five hours. Finally, the ATR 72 landed in New Delhi airport at 18:03 local time following the final five hour and 25-minute leg. Overall, the journey took nearly two days, starting on 23rd June and ending on 25th June.
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Ready to go
IndiGo is currently in the midst of a 50-aircraft ATR 72 order. The carrier has now taken delivery of 27 planes, with several more awaiting delivery in Toulouse. Notably, VT-IXS and -IXV are both nearly two years old (1.9 and 1.7 years, respectively) and have been waiting to join the fleet for over a year now, according to ch-aviation.
The ATR delivery schedule stands in contrast to its A320neo arrivals. While IndiGo added 44 new A320/A321neos in 2020, the carrier did not take any new ATR 72s in the same period.
As domestic demand recovers quickly, airlines have turned their attention towards regional routes. Thanks to government subsidies, scores of new routes have been launched across India to boost connectivity to smaller towns.
IndiGo serves nearly all of these routes using the ATR72, which means more planes are bound to join the fleet in coming years as the carrier continues to grow its footprint.
Have you ever flown IndiGo’s ATR 72s? Let us know in the comments!