Saturday, December 12, 2015

Revealed: Pattern for 99 & 100th aircraft of IndiGo, to operate one of the longest domestic flight

by Soumen Mukherjee
IndiGo, India's largest carrier by passenger volume, is all set to expand its domestic capacity in the new year.  It has already opened booking for a range of new flights to be operated from second week of January 2016. The new flights include the first non-stop flight between the national capital Delhi and Kerala capital Trivandrum. This is going to be one of the longest domestic flights with great circle distance of 1,201 nautical miles (NM) or 2,224 km and block time of 3 hours 15 minutes. IndiGo is increasing its presence at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru as it will station one more aircraft there and will operate new frequencies to Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam from Bengaluru.

With the arrival of the new Airbus A320neo (-271N) likely to be delayed at least by January end. IndiGo will operate these new flights with old Airbus A320ceo aircraft currently being dry-leased from various sources and it is evident that IndiGo to have at least 2 more such aircraft by the end of December 2015. With this IndiGo will become only the third airlines in India to have a 100 aircraft fleet after Air India & Jet Airways. Anticipating a potential delay in the A320neo delivery, IndiGo management was already in the process of taking a 11.3 years old A320ceo (MSN: 2275) on dry-lease and now it is learned that another 11 years old A320ceo (MSN: 2359) will also join it's fleet soon. Which is currently being painted in IndiGo colors in Shannon, Ireland. Eventually the airline may take up to 4 such old aircraft on dry-lease. Your author had already indicated before that IndiGo to dry-lease not just 1 more but several old Airbus A320ceo in the coming weeks to fuel its domestic growth till the arrival of A320neo. Currently IndiGo has 98 A320ceo aircraft in its fleet out of which 14 have been inducted old (VT-IDX, X=A-N). The upcoming aircraft will likely to be registered with VT-IDO onward.

The 99th aircraft, to be based at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, will operate the BLR-VTZ-BLR-AMD-BLR-BBI-CCU-BBI-BLR pattern from 7 January 2016. Overall the aircraft will clock a block time of 13 hours 30 minutes with 8 flights a day. This will help IndiGo to increase daily departures from Bengaluru from current 31 to 34.

The most important feature of this pattern is the first non-stop flight between Delhi and Trivandrum, one of the longest domestic flights. No other airline operates non-stop flight on this route. However it is not yet clear where the aircraft will be stationed at night or it will operate late night/early morning flight, better known as red-eye flight. The partial pattern, known by the time of writing this piece, includes MAA-TRV-DEL-TRV-MAA effective from 7 January 2016. The airline is expected to open booking for 1 or 2 more rotation within this pattern.  

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