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IndiGo Contemplating First Widebody Jet Order

The aircraft would be IndiGo's first non-wet-leased widebody jets.

An IndiGo aircraft (Photo: Shutterstock)

Word has come out that Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo is mulling an order for around 30 Airbus A350s, according to Bloomberg. Widebody aircraft from Airbus recently made a comeback in the Indian market with Air India’s order for the A350 aircraft

IndiGo has played around the idea of maintaining widebody aircraft in its fleet several times in recent years, however, none reached fruition. The airline currently operates two wet-leased Boeing 777s from Turkish Airlines operating the Mumbai-Istanbul and Delhi-Istanbul routes. It might be said that, by wet leasing, IndiGo was testing out the feasibility of inducting widebody aircraft in its fleet. 

The low-cost carrier managed to carry more than 100 million passengers in 2023. The goal is to double that figure by the end of the decade. Something for which the airline has hopefully adequately planned in terms of fleet size. The Indian industry leader has huge orders placed with Airbus. Figures state that IndiGo has a backlog of 1,000 aircraft with the French manufacturer. 

The no-frills airline has maintained a fairly uniform fleet, operating Airbus A320s and A321s. Since 2017, the ATR 72 has also been inducted into the fleet. 

Why Would IndiGo Purchase Widebodies

The reason for inducting widebody aircraft is seemingly pretty straightforward: to target the impressive and ever-growing international passenger traffic to and from India. The reason the Boeing 777s were wet-leased is also the same; to tap into the lucrative India-to-Turkey traffic while not committing to operating a widebody aircraft full time. 

Keeping all the above in mind, IndiGo has all the reasons to invest in widebody aircraft to increase its stake in international traffic. However, there also have been multiple cases where low-cost carriers, when venturing into long-haul routes, end up floundering and wrapping up operations. Airlines like Laker Airways, WOW, and most recently Norwegian all operated long-haul routes with a low-cost model and ended up declaring bankruptcy at some point.

It is not necessary that by operating long-haul flights, IndiGo is putting itself in danger, however, all steps need to be taken very carefully when committing to something like inducting widebody aircraft into an airline that has exclusively operated narrowbodies. 

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