Budget carrier IndiGo plans to connect Vietnam with more Indian cities, apart from increasing frequencies on newly-launched flights from Kolkata. Earlier this month, IndiGo introduced daily direct flights from Kolkata to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to tap the leisure travel market. According to the current air service agreement with Vietnam, Indian carriers can fly 28 weekly flights to Vietnamese cities.
IndiGo’s chief commercial officer (CCO) William Boulter said the airline plans to stimulate the new markets with low fares. “Vietnam gets 70 million tourists each year. The share of Indian tourists is only increasing. We want to stimulate the market by putting low fares and increase frequencies to these destinations,” Boulter told FE.
Domestic carriers have aggressively been adding international destination since the grounding of Jet Airways which was the largest carrier of overseas passengers from India.
IndiGo is deploying 50% of its new capacities measured in terms of available seat kilometre to the international market. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, total capacities at IndiGo has increased 28.3% year-on-year to 39.3 billion kilometre.
The Gurugram-based carrier has already launched 5 flights in the last 5 weeks to Myanmar, China, Vietnam and Kuwait.
Boulter said there is huge potential for an Indian carrier to expand in the Chinese market. In May, IndiGo had applied to the Ministry of
Civil Aviation for 18-20 weekly flights to cities like Chengdu, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Kunming. It has so far added Chengdu and Guangzhou to its destinations.
“There can be 42 weekly flights to China, according to the bilateral (flying rights). Indian carriers are just using 19 of those. We plan to add another flight service to China by early next year. However, everything depends on the response to our new flights,” he said.
Boulter said the domestic market demand is weaker than what the airlines had anticipated at the start of FY20 as the capacity is being rebuilt after Jet’s closure. “The domestic market is weaker than what we anticipated. However, there is fundamental demand, especially outside the metros. The capacity is being rebuilt.”
For the winter schedule starting October 27, IndiGo will have 10,310 weekly departures, an increase of 14.2% over the 9,030 weekly flights it operated in the previous winter schedule.
(Travel for this report was sponsored by IndiGo)