IndiGo has announced seven new regional bases across India in a bid to boost connectivity. The new bases include Agra (home of the Taj Mahal), Leh, Rajkot, and more. The bases will open progressively from February to May 2021.
IndiGo announced yesterday that it would expand its regional connectivity with a series of new bases. The new routes are meant to connect more passengers in smaller cities, increasing India’s aviation growth. In a statement, CEO Ronojoy Dutta said,
“IndiGo is on a continuous mission to build the best airline system in the world. This means customers should be able to travel by air, easily and affordably, between all the cities and towns across the country…Operating in these stations will boost economic growth in these regions, while providing access to our customers to the safest mode of transportation, as Tier II cities lead growth and recovery for the nation.”
Seven new cities will see bases open this year, these are:
- Leh, Ladakh (February)
- Darbhanga, Bihar (February)
- Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh (March)
- Agra, Uttar Pradesh (March)
- Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (April)
- Durgapur, West Bengal (April)
- Rajkot, Gujrat (May)
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While some of these stations already have competitive traffic, IndiGo one of the early movers in many of these cities. Agra, which is home to the Taj Mahal and thousands of weekly tourists, has no direct service to major or regional hub airports. While exact routes are yet to be announced, we can expect significant traffic.
Darbhanga is another underserved market that has quickly caught the eye of airlines. SpiceJet, previously the sole airline flying to Darbhanga, announced last week that it would expand services to the city, bringing its total to five direct flights. IndiGo’s entry means the market will see a lot more competition and connectivity in the coming months.
For Bareilly and Kurnool, IndiGo will be the first airline to provide flights, giving it a significant advantage. Considering only a small percentage of Indians fly currently, new bases will be an important step to bring in more travelers.
Cities like Leh already see flights from Air India, GoAir, SpiceJet, and Vistara, making IndiGo the last entrant to the market. Meanwhile, Durgapur and Rajkot do have direct flights to major hubs like Delhi and Mumbai but lack further connectivity. IndiGo’s entry will offer more options and competition to passengers in these cities.
The pandemic saw IndiGo nearly halt all expansion in 2020 as it struggled with losses. However, with India’s domestic traffic now approaching almost 80% of pre-pandemic levels, the airline seems to be more optimistic about a recovery. While international traffic is expected to remain low for the coming months, domestic flights will likely continue to rise.
What do you think about IndiGo’s plans? When will Indian aviation make a full recovery? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!