The country’s largest airline, IndiGo, will soon lease up to four wide-body Boeing 777s for the first time to cover the shortfall in international operations, officials said.
The airline said the leasing of “certain aircraft” with crews was a temporary measure.
IndiGo, which until now operated only narrow-body Airbus aircraft, ATR aircraft, and freighters, is now adding wide-body aircraft to its fleet.
Currently, the airline has more than 275 aircraft and flies more than 1,600 flights a day.
IndiGo has decided to operate a maximum of four Boeing 777 aircraft with crew. Next winter’s schedule includes Boeing 777-200 LR and Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, which are used mainly on international routes, airline officials announced Wednesday.
An IndiGo spokesperson said that as the airline industry continues to face significant supply chains around the world, the airline has been exploring various solutions to enable it to continue smoothly and provide customers with efficient and affordable travel.
“As an interim measure, we have decided to lease certain aircraft to cover the shortfall in scheduled international air traffic.” We have received in-principle approval from the regulatory authorities for this and still need to obtain the required regulatory approval for the aircraft to be put into service.
“We are committed to exploring all options to overcome these capacity challenges and provide our customers with efficient and affordable air travel,” the spokesperson said.
According to the airline, international air traffic is going through a strong recovery period, and demand will also increase during the upcoming holiday and winter seasons.
This is a positive sign for the industry, and IndiGo remains very optimistic about future growth in international travel to and from India, he added.
As the civil aviation industry slowly recovers from the global pandemic, airlines, including Indian airlines, are looking to expand their fleets and routes to meet growing travel demand.
IndiGo on Tuesday announced the launch of direct flights between Mumbai and Istanbul as part of its overseas network expansion.
A senior official of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday that the Indian market is very important and already contributes greatly in some parts of the world.
“I see many airlines starting, continuing or expanding their network to India. “It is certainly a key market (India) for the region and the rest of the world,” said Philip Goh, IATA’s Asia-Pacific director.
Credit rating agency Icra said in its recent report that it expects domestic passenger volumes to reach pre-Covid levels in the March quarter of this financial year (Q2023 vs Q2020), while international air traffic will fully recover in the second quarter of the following year. The next fiscal year begins in April 2023. According to Icra, overall domestic traffic recovery has been strong, and it is expected to reach 97-98 percent of pre-Covid levels by 2023.