IndiGo Kicks Off Flights From The Growing Market Of Darbhanga

IndiGo has officially kicked off flights from Darbhanga Airport, adding its 67th domestic destination. The low-cost giant now flies directly from Darbhanga to Kolkata and Hyderabad. The addition means SpiceJet will no longer be the sole operator from the central Bihar city, adding competition and bringing fares down.

INdigo A320neo
Darbhanga has seen traffic increase rapidly as it grows as a manufacturing and trade hub in recent years. Photo: Airbus

First flight

IndiGo inaugurated its first flight from Darbhanga Airport on Monday, 6th July. Flight 6E-6924 departed for Hyderabad at 12:45 PM local time, with several important politicians present at the event. The flight marks IndiGo’s 67th domestic destination and is a part of its ongoing plan to grow its regional presence across India.

Two hours later, IndiGo’s second new route also took off for the first time. Flight 6E-6921 left for Kolkata at 14:55 local time, and arriving just 50 minutes later. Both new services were operated by IndiGo’s A320neos, indicating strong demand from the city. The planes seat 186 passengers in an all-economy, 3-3 layout.

IndiGo A320neo
IndiGo originally planned to begin flying to Darbhanga in February but opted to delay its plans. Photo: Getty Images

Services from Darbhanga were originally planned to kick off in February but were delayed. Considering India’s crippling second wave, this was likely a good decision, in hindsight. However, with flights now here, IndiGo is excited to get going. In a statement, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said,

“We are pleased to expand our regional presence and begin operations from cultural land of Darbhanga, Bihar. It is in line with our commitment to augment the domestic connectivity within the country, to enable increased access and mobility. These new flights from Darbhanga to Kolkata and Hyderabad will enhance connectivity between the three states and promote trade and commerce in the region.”

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New hub

IndiGo’s entry means that SpiceJet no longer has a monopoly on flights from Darbhanga. SpiceJet has seen extremely high demand from the city in recent months, adding connections to Ahemdabad, Hyderabad, Pune, and Kolkata since this March. This is in addition to existing routes to the hubs of Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

While SpiceJet is planning a total of seven routes, using a mix of 737s and Q400s, IndiGo is starting with only two destinations. Both airlines now offer daily, direct flights to Kolkata, although SpiceJet uses a turboprop on the route. Meanwhile, IndiGo’s flight to Hyderabad will give it a monopoly until August, when SpiceJet will also offer the same route daily.

SpiceJet 737 Getty
SpiceJet and IndiGo are already matching prices on their overlapping routes. Photo: Getty Images

While SpiceJet might have the time advantage since it got routes in 2018 under the government-backed UDAN scheme, IndiGo will not be far behind. As more government subsidies become available, the low-cost leader will likely quickly grow its presence in the city.

Considering India’s plan to continue adding new routes, expect to see many more airlines competing for traffic in the coming years. However, more competition will offer passengers more flexibility, wider networks, and lower prices, all great positives.

What do you think about IndiGo’s latest destination? Let us know in the comments!