Indigo, beyond carrying passengers and connecting cities

IndiGo not only aspires to be an airline with the largest market share but more importantly, a catalyst for economic growth in India. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo talks about enhancing regional and international networks while achieving great milestones.

Bharti Sharma

The whole aviation industry has witnessed the worst time in the last few months owing to the unprecedented pandemic. There are various factors that will determine the recovery of the sector in the long run. For instance, passenger trust in air travel as the safest mode will be the foremost factor in driving demand. With its fleet of 275+ aircraft, the airline is operating over 1000 daily flights and connecting 69 domestic destinations and 24 international destinations.  Indigo has set a benchmark in on-time performance amongst scheduled commercial carriers in the country and have won many accolades.

Embracing CarGo and charter flights to generate revenue

William believes that International flights will be another key factor in the revival of the aviation sector, which will also augment economic recovery. He also tells, “We all have learnt new lessons during the pandemic such as embracing CarGo and charter flights to generate revenue. These new modes of revenue generation will play a crucial role in the long-term revival of the sector.”

The largest share of the domestic traffic 

International flights are still limited so providing regional connectivity is the focus point for all airlines. As airlines are considering banking on the success of India’s new regional connectivity scheme (RCS), Indigo is aggressively strengthening its domestic connectivity and has recently launched multiple routes. Shedding light on the same, William shares, “We have extended our footprint to 7 regional stations in the past few months – Leh, Agra, Darbhanga, Kurnool, Bareilly, Durgapur, Rajkot. Also, since corporate travel is sluggish, VFR and leisure travel will drive business for airlines, which will place more emphasis on domestic traffic, especially between metros and tier 2/3 cities. In addition, we recently commenced operations from key tier 2 cities including Jabalpur, Indore, and Gwalior. Starting this month, IndiGo is operating 486 weekly flights from four cities in Madhya Pradesh, including Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, and Gwalior, to key destinations across the country.”

Removal of caps to strengthen the revival of the sector 

 William believes that the Government can stimulate the aviation sector further by doing away with capacity and fare caps as travel demand has picked up over the last few months. These restrictions were implemented for a good reason last year – now is the time to relax them. He asserts, “Domestic traffic trebled from May to June 2021 as restrictions and the pandemic eased – and we are seeing strong growth since then in total demand. In another instance, Kashmir’s single-day air traffic has surpassed even the pre-COVID levels. In essence, the removal of these caps will really help strengthen the revival of the sector in India.” 

Increasing presence in international skies

Indigo has witnessed encouraging demand to the Maldives and have expanded its network to Malé from 5 stations in India (as opposed to 3 stations pre-pandemic), including the new daily flights to and from Hyderabad. He comments, “We definitely had plans to strengthen our international routes and we still aspire to do so contingently on international policies and public health recovery. We are eagerly looking forward to increasing our presence in international skies as the pandemic recedes. We are currently operating CarGo, charters and bubble flights in the international sector across various markets. We have also restarted flights to Bangladesh and Kuwait and hope to resume operations to Sri Lanka this month, under the air bubble arrangement.” 

The relevant and high-quality positioning 

While the Government is spending a lot of resources building road and rail infrastructure, IndiGo wants to develop a massive air transport network across the country that will be crucial for the growth of overall economic activity. “Our mission is to connect small cities and facilitate the movement of people and goods domestically and with neighbouring countries,” states William.

Indigo believes that continuous effective communication with the employees, training and teamwork is what will make and sustain them as one of the strongest brands in India. He further tells, “We are positioning our product to be relevant and of high quality. Hence, employees are our biggest assets in terms of truly distinguishing ourselves through superior customer service. We are building the brand on four key values – affordable fares, hassle-free service, on-time performance, and continuous innovation. 

We continue to make deliveries of new Airbus A320/321 Neo aircraft, which deliver a fuel saving of 15 per cent over the previous generation and help us realise our vision for sustainable operations. Overall, we hope to be back to pre-covid levels of domestic capacity by December and to full international capacity by next year. 



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