IndiGo may move to damp lease 737 MAX aircraft

An IndiGo aircraft parked at Bengaluru Airport.
Photo Credit: Gaurav Gowda/AviationSource

In what might be the biggest blow for Airbus in Indian aviation industry, IndiGo airline, the largest customer for Airbus in the country, might now move to damp lease a Boeing 737 MAX.

IndiGo which is currently the largest airline in the country (if we exclude the merger of Tata owned airlines) and currently has only Airbus aircraft in its fleet for the narrow-body aircraft category.

Talks with Qatar Airways

Recently the airline wet-leased a Boeing 777 from Turkish Airlines, and now following the same trend the airline is said to be in talks with Qatar airways to damp lease their five Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Under this agreement Qatar airways will be responsible for the maintenance of the aircraft and the flight crew and cabin-crew will be from IndiGo.

This type of lease is usually more expensive than the leasing an aircraft for a long term, but with the summer season right around the corner, IndiGo needs to implement such measures to meet the market demand.

Ongoing A320neo Engine Issues

With roughly around 70 Airbus A320neo aircraft belonging to IndiGo currently grounded due to the Pratt & Whitney engine issue, the carrier is expected to face more hurdles in the coming summer schedule.

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The airline is now forced to opt for the damp lease option as it faces shortages of new A320s in the leasing market – new condition aircraft includes aircraft which are not more than 5 years old in the market.

Photo Credit: Gaurav Gowda/AviationSource

This is also due to the fact that many airlines across the globe are facing similar issues with P&W engines and are forced to extend their lease on old/currently leased aircraft’s to avoid disruption in their schedule.

IndiGo’s motto was to operate on one similar type of aircraft which would help the airline reduce its maintenance and crew training cost but given the circumstances IndiGo is forced to think out of the box to ensure it doesn’t lose the market share in the country.

With the Air India and Vistara merger alongside AIX, competition has just increased in the market for Indigo.

Possible 6-month Lease

According to the report in the Economic Times, people close to this development have said that IndiGo plans to wet lease these aircraft for a term of 6 months and all the five aircrafts in discussion are said to be less than 4 years old.

The report also mentions that these aircrafts will exclusively fly on the route to Doha from India. As these Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will also have business class seats, Qatar Airways will be responsible for selling these seats on their website.

This is similar to the deal IndiGo currently has with Turkish airlines.

A source close to this development told the Economic Times “No lessor wants to give planes on dry lease for a short period of six months.”

“Getting well maintained older aircraft has become difficult due to the supply chain problems. Hence many possibilities are being explored. IndiGo doesn’t want to land in a situation where a plane is leased and it develops some issues.”


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