Moneycontrol
Last Updated : Jan 24, 2019 09:55 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

IndiGo to fly to Istanbul from March, says co-founder and interim CEO Rahul Bhatia

When asked if the company has gone slow on flights to European destinations like London - as was reported - the airline said it has "not given up on the destinations" and that the answer is neither no, nor yes.

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India's largest carrier IndiGo will start flying to the Turkish capital of Istanbul from March, as it looks to expand its international operations this year, co-founder and interim CEO Rahul Bhatia said on January 23.

"We have received our first A321 neo which has a higher seating capacity and lower unit costs compared to the A320neos and also has longer range. We plan to start direct flights to Istanbul from March and open other international destinations as the year progresses," he said during a conference call.

The A321 Neo has a flying time of six hours, and will enable the airline connect to more international destinations. IndiGo already flies to 15 overseas destinations. In the domestic market, it flies to 49 destinations.

The third quarter saw the airline adding six new international destinations and 22 new international routes. IndiGo also signed its first code share agreement, with Turkish Airlines. The agreements allows passengers for the two airlines to use each other's networks.

The codeshare "will allow IndiGo customers to reach several European destinations beyond Istanbul," said Bhatia. The conference call followed announcement of IndiGo's third quarter results.

The low-cost carrier reported a net profit of Rs 191 crore for the December quarter, against a profit of Rs 762 crore, a year earlier. Profit of the company was hit due to adverse impact of crude oil prices as well as depreciation in the rupee. But was propped up by a handsome increase in other income.

Overseas growth

The airline said that 30 percent of its growth in the fourth quarter will come from its international operations.

When asked if the company has gone slow on flights to European destinations like London - as was reported - the airline said it has "not given up on the destinations" and that the answer is neither no, nor yes.

The company added that its domestic network gives it a "huge advantage" as it expands overseas. The domestic network, it said, will feed its international service.

"At present, we have 6 percent share in international traffic from India. Overseas airline have 61 percent share," said Chief Commercial Officer William Boulter. The international growth, he added, will be the third phase of expansion for the airline, after establishing itself in the trunk routes between metros, and expanding its network to smaller cities.
First Published on Jan 23, 2019 07:18 pm
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