Large Airbus order in the offing for IndiGo?

An IndiGo Airbus A320 approaches with wheels down.
Paul Spijkers (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

India’s low-cost carrier IndiGo is reportedly in negotiations with aircraft manufacturer Airbus for “several hundred aircraft” according to the French news source Les Echos, which has cited recent comments by the French Minister of Economy, Bruno Lemaire.

G20 Conference

According to the French source who reported the news this morning, the French minister was passing through India for the G20 conference when he remarked that Indian low-cost airline IndiGo was negotiating with the French manufacturer Airbus for the purchase of “several hundred aircraft.”

He intimated that a contract may be signed at the coming French airshow in Le Bourget this June.

The news is perhaps a little unsurprising in light of the recent bulk purchase by rival Indian carrier Air India.

Recent Air India historic deal

Earlier this month the Tata Group carrier closed a purchase order deal with both Airbus and Boeing for what became the largest aircraft acquisition in aviation history.

The Air India deal was finalised and formally announced almost a year after news of the airline’s fleet acquisition was first floated.

The purchase finally unveiled was for a record acquisition of 470 assets with further options, comprising a mix of 250 Airbus and 220 Boeing narrowbody and widebody aircraft.

With a burgeoning regional aviation market sector, the move by Air India would take the challenge to rival operator IndiGo.

IndiGo, which operates both domestically and internationally on the low-cost airline model, is currently India’s largest airline in terms of both passenger uplift and fleet size.

With its fleet of over 300 aircraft, the airline is presently operating almost 1800 daily flights and connecting 78 domestic destinations and 26 international destinations.

The carrier enjoys approximately 57% of India’s domestic market share (from stats in November 2022), and is the fourth largest airline in Asia.

Last year, IndiGo continued to make headway in expanding and consolidating its domestic network.

With a stated vision to “enhance domestic connectivity and provide accessibility for customers across its wide network,” the low-cost airline made significant inroads in meeting that goal.

The Indian aviation market

According to industry body India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), domestic air traffic contributes around 69% of the total airline traffic in South Asia and India’s airport capacity is expected to handle 1 billion trips annually by 2023.

India is currently the 7th largest civil aviation market in the world and is expected to become the third-largest civil aviation market within the next 10 years.

Indigo is the largest airline company in India with the highest market share.

The sheer size of India’s aviation sector is noteworthy, and the recent history making bulk purchase deal by Air India is perhaps testament to that.

India has become the third largest domestic aviation market in the world and is expected to overtake UK to become the third largest air passenger market by 2024.

It will certainly be interesting to see what transpires as we draw closer to the upcoming French airshow in Le Bourget at the end of June.

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