Recently, we have heard about several airlines cancelling their new orders, in an attempt to shrink their fleet and minimise losses. However, on the contrary, India’s largest Low Cost Carrier, InterGlobe Aviation’s IndiGo Airlines has said that said it will keep adding more aircraft to its fleet even as the future of commercial aviation remains uncertain amidst these afflicting times. Chief Executive Officer of IndiGo Airlines, Mr. Ronojoy Dutta, stated in a conference:
‘IndiGo plans to return its entire fleet of 120 older, fuel-guzzling planes (Airbus A320ceo) to lessors in the next two years. Almost all of those aircraft will be replaced by new jets soon’
IndiGo Airlines is the biggest operator of the Airbus A320neo aircraft family, their fleet constituting more than a hundred of these aircraft. Mr. Dutta further stated:
‘We are in active discussions with Airbus, and we will take a large number. The exact number and delivery schedule will depend on the revenue picture and the pricing we get and so forth, but we will take a large number.’
By disclosing their expansion plans, despite a majority of airlines globally struggling to keep up with their current fleet, IndiGo Airlines has joined the elite list of very small number of companies that have kept their growth plans intact. Just last week, Ryanair and WizzAir also stated their plans of not discarding their expansion ambitions. On the other hand, airlines like Southwest, Delta, Emirates, Lufthansa and Etihad have stated that they shall discuss deferring deliveries as it might take a multitude of years for air traffic to get back to pre-pandemic levels.
IndiGo Airlines has a strong balance sheet, an immaculate management team and immensely successful cost structure that has helped it not only to see the current storm through, but also to see this adversity as an opportunity. Shares of the airline have increased by as much as 9 percent post their announcement to keep the growth plans intact.
The carrier has added more than 40 Airbus A320neo family aircraft (the Airbus A320neo and the A321neo) during the last financial year. Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, has stated that the carrier shall further strengthen their fleet by adding 30 more A320neos soon. Details about the schedule, or aircraft types (A320neo or 321neo) have not been released yet.
IndiGo’s expansion plans are indeed a welcome news for the European manufacturer – Airbus. In a time where most airlines have been cancelling a significant number of new orders, IndiGo’s decision shall play a huge role in strengthening Airbus’ business plans post the pandemic. What do you think of IndiGo Airlines’ decision to keep expanding? Is the carrier being overly ambitious, or just an optimist taking advantage of this adversity-turned-opportunity, thanks to its deep pockets? Let us know in the comments!