Indigo looks to start China operations by end of 2019

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Updated: February 13, 2019 7:06:33 AM

IndiGo sees a lot of room for growth as it just has 6% of its capacity deployed on the international routes.

IndiGo sees a lot of room for growth as it just has 6% of its capacity deployed on the international routes.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo will look to start its China operations by the end of this year, according to a top executive of the carrier.
The airline, which has a leadership position in the domestic market, is now looking at increasing its international footprint and is inducting aircraft that have longer range and more carriage capacity like A321neos. It also plans to induct A321LR later.

Domestic airlines have not been able to crack the China market, as apart from Air India, none of them, be it Jet Airways or budget carrier SpiceJet have been able to sustain China operations and had to discontinue flights owing to huge losses.

“China to us is a big market and it is perfect in terms of culture fit and tourism,” IndiGo chief commercial officer Willy Boutler said, adding that there is scope for the Indian carriers to expand the market as the Chinese carriers are currently using 42 flights, maximising the bilaterals, whereas Indian carriers are using just five.

The airline currently flies 1,300 daily flights, of which 118 are international.

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Though Boutler did not specify the destinations IndiGo will fly to in China, industry experts say the airline could definitely look at the port city of Guangzhou, capital city of Sichuan province Chengdu and Shanghai at a later stage.

“China is a very obvious fit for IndiGo to expand into as there is a lot of traffic potential, especially for flights to Guangzhou because of manufacturing business there,” an industry expert said.

IndiGo, which has about 41.5 % of the domestic market share, has faced declining profits as yields pressure have continued in the domestic operations. To boost revenues, the carrier has added an aggressive international expansion strategy that will allow the airline to gain entry into comparatively lesser competitive markets not yet saturated.

IndiGo sees a lot of room for growth as it just has 6% of its capacity deployed on the international routes.

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