LONDON – IndiGo taking the decision to lease four Boeing 777s is reflective of the strong demand for Indian air travel in the region. Welcome to The Editor’s Corner.
The Editor’s Corner is an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.
In case you have missed the last 26, feel free to browse through them before you continue to read this piece:
- The Editor’s Corner #1: The Industry Isn’t Ready for Summer 2022 Demand
- The Editor’s Corner #2: JetBlue’s Offer for Spirit Airlines Will Change The American Airline Dynamic
- The Editor’s Corner #3: Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation
- The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge
- The Editor’s Corner #5: Detriment of the Boeing 737 MAX & 787 Is Causing a 777X-Based Aftershock
- The Editor’s Corner #6: Qantas’ Plans For The Future Will Turn Around Negative Times
- The Editor’s Corner #7: The P2F Market Is Hotting Up…
- The Editor’s Corner #8: O’Leary Is Gunning For Another Cheap Boeing Order
- The Editor’s Corner #9: Ukraine Crisis: Turkish Airlines’ A350 Snap-Up from Aeroflot May Have Something To Do With A Red Carpet…
- The Editor’s Corner #10 – Ukraine Crisis: Lessors Will Not Win The Russia Battle
- The Editor’s Corner #11 – Spirit Airlines Are Slowly Changing Their Mind…
- The Editor’s Corner #12 – The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up
- The Editor’s Corner #13 – Video Footage From RedAir Flight 203 Highlights Dangers of Carrying Luggage During an Evacuation
- The Editor’s Corner #14 – The Spirit-Frontier-JetBlue Battle for Merger Will Be Remembered As A Mess
- The Editor’s Corner #15 – Flyr, Norse & Norwegian Have Opportunity to Capitalise on SAS’ Woes
- The Editor’s Corner #16 – The Airbus & Boeing Battle Will Heat Up At Farnborough
- The Editor’s Corner #17 – My Predictions for Farnborough Were Well Off…
- The Editor’s Corner #18 – Why Do Airports & Airlines Fight Over Chaos When Government is to Blame?
- The Editor’s Corner #19 – Manchester Airport Has Resolved Its Chaotic Period – But Improvements Are Needed…
- The Editor’s Corner #20 – Ukraine Crisis: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s Russia Return Was A Mistake From The Get-Go
- The Editor’s Corner #21 – More Than Meets The Eye to The Emirates-United Codeshare
- The Editor’s Corner #22 – Israel Banning Boeing 747s Will Have Massive Impact on Cargo Operators
- The Editor’s Corner #23 – Amid Their Chaos, Qantas Is Taking The Fight to Air New Zealand
- The Editor’s Corner #24 – The Russian Airline Industry Is Heading for a Nosedive
- The Editor’s Corner #25 – Downfall of Doncaster Represents The Beginning of the Regional Collapse
- The Editor’s Corner #26 – The A35K/Delta Order Rumour Mill Highlights Strong Momentum for Airbus
IndiGo Leasing 777s Reflective of Demand for Indian Travel
According to the Financial Express in India, IndiGo is looking to lease up to four Boeing 777 aircraft to meet the shortfall in capacity offerings.
It is understood the carrier will be looking at taking some 777-200LRs and 777-300ERs, and are expected to be in service with the carrier in time for the Winter 2022 season.
So, with that in mind, it remains clear that Airbus A320neos and Airbus A321neos are not doing the job at present to deal with the influx in capacity for the airline.
International Operations Are Very Popular…
It’s becoming clearer that international operations in and out of India are becoming more popular, and it’s a fact that Indian carriers cannot cope with this demand.
An IndiGo spokesperson said the following about the decision:
“As an interim measure, we have decided to take on wet lease certain aircraft to cover the shortfall for our scheduled international operations.”
“We have received in-principal approval from the regulators, and the induction of these aircraft remains subject to further requisite regulatory approvals”.
“We are committed to exploring every opportunity possible to overcome these capacity challenges and provide our customers with efficient and affordable air travel,”.
This means that such a shortfall is quite drastic if they are having to lease heavier equipment to accommodate this.
Strong Expansion in the Middle East & Beyond Is Causing This…
The strong expansion plans that the airline has been undertaking, particularly in the Middle East & beyond, have been a major factor in this.
With the A321XLR not available as of yet, as well as the carrier not owning any LR versions of the A321neo, this does limit the carrier in how far they can operate.
The 777s would cater well to this, especially if IndiGo chooses to retrofit on the lease agreements to an all-Economy or majority Economy sort of configuration.
When they are delivered to IndiGo, it’s going to be interesting to see which destinations will be selected for these aircraft.
Why Not Airbus Widebodies?
In my opinion, I do find it strange that IndiGo is going to Boeing, considering they are an all-Airbus fleet. I suppose with it being a lease agreement, they can use the crews that the aircraft is coming from.
But, in the eyes of commonality, IndiGo could have been better suited to the Airbus A330neo or A350, just in case they did want to use their own crew for these flights.
I’m not sure whether it’s because I think the IndiGo livery would look amazing on the A330neo or A350 or whether it would have been a better business idea to stay with Airbus.
But as far as my dreams go, I understand that the choice to go for Boeing aircraft is probably based on aircraft availability, and that is the main thing to take from this.
IndiGo Taking on Air India…
It’s also clear that IndiGo is going to use this opportunity to explore whether it can take the fight to the likes of Air India and Vistara on the long-haul front.
If things go really well with this aircraft agreement, then IndiGo could very well extend this agreement or maybe create an aircraft order out of this.
As mentioned previously about commonality, this would probably result in an Airbus widebody order due to the extra costs caused by dual aircraft fleets.
Even so, this is something very exciting, and you can tell that new CEO Pieter Elbers is already making his presence known within that area of the industry.
Overall: IndiGo Is About To Witness Some Strong Growth…
It remains clear that IndiGo is about to witness some incredibly strong growth, especially through the use of these Boeing 777s.
This is going to be a major tester for the airline, especially if it means that they have a strong business case to go further afield away from India.
Under the helm of Elbers, especially with his experience of long-haul operations with KLM, is going to produce a dangerously positive combination that could elevate IndiGo into a completely different space. And that should make competitors worry.