The Indian airline IndiGo has announced a new route, New Delhi to London!
This is significant as the airline has India’s largest fleet (With 181 planes) and carries the most passengers (to 52 destinations), such a giant company could easily dominate the very popular route between the two countries. Especially since the country seems to be gripped in a price war of 2 cent flights!
We do not yet know the exact start date, but as you will read below, it will be all coming together very quickly.
The airline managed to secure a slot in the very competitive London Gatwick. Some airports are so busy that airlines must first buy a slot from another airline before they can even apply to run a route. For example, London Heathrow with its two runways has such a limited capacity that a slot goes for millions of dollars. It is not yet known at this time what airline was bumped out by IndiGo for their slot.
The new route will be flown by one of IndiGo’s brand new Airbus A321neos, that have yet to be delivered (in November 2018). Hopefully, they are delivered, and the airline does not have to swap in another aircraft like Primera Air did with their Boeing 737max.
They also have on order 362 Airbus A320neos as well as 25 Airbus A321neos. Recently in the news, it was announced that Norwegian airlines was cancelling 90 Airbus A320’s order for financial reasons, which may have a knock-on effect on Indigo’s order. If Airbus has to scramble to cancel planes and move staff around, it may interrupt IndiGo’s very tight deadline (More on that below).
However, keen readers will realise that the distance between New Delhi and London is 3,600 nautical miles, but the Airbus A321neo can only fly 4,000 nautical miles, a touch over their required distance. This means that the IndiGo jet might have to find a place to land and refuel.
The rumour in the industry is that Istanbul, particularly the new IST airport, will be chosen as the drop off point. This will allow IndiGo to also transfer passengers to other flights and sell seats specifically for this destination, as well as refuel. We are not sure if they have applied for permission to fly passengers from Istanbul to London at this time (and if they will compete with Turkish Airlines).
One last note to mention, in the European Union there is a regulation that essentially says an airline must use its airport slot 80% of the time (and it is the reason why ghost flights exist) and if they don’t, then the slot is completely forfeited and returned to the pool.
IndiGo’s slot begins on the 31stof October (Again remember their new plane comes in November), so if they don’t have flights flying as soon as their new plane arrives (or before as the slot starts in October) they could lose it!
Do you want to go flying on this new IndiGo flight?