Air India is the only Indian carrier at present that flies to China
Expanding its international horizon, leading Indian airline IndiGo plans to start services to Chinese cities of Chengdu and Guangzhou.
Industry sources said the airline has got the nod from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), to start services from Delhi and Kolkata.
"At this stage, we are in the process of securing the necessary approvals to operate into China, and as soon as we receive all the requisite permissions from the Governments to operate, we will inform our key stakeholders accordingly," an IndiGo spokesperson told Moneycontrol.
"We are evaluating all such opportunities to expand our network and provide many more choices to our customers," the executive added. The spokesperson didn't provide a timeline for the services to China.
At present, Air India is the only domestic airline to have flights connecting the two countries.
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.
IndiGo has been expanding its international network, adding nearly 10 in a year to a total of 18 destinations as of now. These include Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket.
"With our existing fleet and the new A321neo aircraft, IndiGo will have the capability to reach cities in China, Middle East and South East Asia," said the spokesperson.
Istanbul was the first international destination that the airline flew to with its new A321neo, first of which was inducted in December last year. The Istanbul service commenced in March.
IndiGo eventually may have 14 flights to China.While it has competition in Air India from India, it will also have to contend with Chinese rivals, including Air China and China Southern.