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Last Updated : May 16, 2019 12:03 PM IST | Source:

IndiGo in no hurry to fill Jet Airways' space in European market

Senior executive says flights to London remain an aspiration

Prince Mathews Thomas @prince0879
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India's largest air carrier IndiGo may not be in a tearing hurry to expand its international footprint to Europe and fill the gap created by the suspension of Jet Airways' operations.

Despite reports that the low-cost airline is looking at 'cut-price business class seats' for the European market, a senior official at IndiGo cautioned that flights to London 'remains an aspiration'.

Though the airline had received slots in London's Gatwick airport and despite reports that flights to the UK capital could begin from March, IndiGo has reviewed its plans.


"We don't want to hurry and go aggressive internationally. Look at Jet Airways, it paid the price," a senior official told Moneycontrol. 

The executive recalled how Jet Airways had inducted 24 medium and long haul aircraft within two years, but was unable to deploy them profitably. "These included Airbus 330 and Boeing 777 aircraft. These were deployed in routes that were not profitable, and some of these were later stopped," the official said.

Jet Airways, which suspended its operations on April 17, used to have a Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco flight. But that ran for less than a year and was stopped in January 2009. Though there were plans to resume the services in 2016, it didn't fructify.

The airline had the biggest share in the international traffic from India, with about 15 percent of the market in 2017. Since then, its share had been reducing gradually. After suspending operations on April 17, Jet Airways' international rights are being distributed to its peers.

Many expect IndiGo to make the most of it. It had launched a Delhi-Istanbul flight in March and has a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. Through the agreement, IndiGo passengers from India can fly to London on a Turkish Airlines flight.

At present, the airline flies to 18 international destinations. Immediate on its horizon are flights to Chinese cities: Chengdu and Guangzhou.

The most hype though has been around its plans for Europe. Along with London, IndiGo is said to have been looking at services to Paris too.

But it is clear that the airline doesn't want to hurry. The executive quoted above provided examples of Malaysia's low-cost airline AirAsia, which wanted to fly to London, but later pulled back.

Or WOW, Iceland's low-cost carrier, which also had to abandon its long haul aspirations after an initial aggressive burst to fly to far off destinations. The airline had also planned flights from India to the US, but dropped them.

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First Published on May 16, 2019 12:03 pm
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