No-frills carrier IndiGo has flown the 200 millionth passenger, a feat that the Gurgaon- based carrier accomplished more than 11 years of its launch. The 200 millionth passenger, Bheeni Kapur, boarded an IndiGo flight (6E-6929) from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi international airport for Bengaluru early this morning, the airline said in a statement. The achievement also coincides with launch of regional jet operation with ATRs by the airline, which is facing an image crisis following a brutal assault on a passenger by one of its staffers at the Delhi airport in October.
The domestic air traffic market has been the fastest in the world since the past two years and has crossed the 100 -million-market in the first 11 months of the year, with November traffic clocking 10.6 million, with an average growth of 17-19 per cent in the year. But a Crisil report warend yesterday that “despite a raft of policy facilitations, domestic airlines are flying into two major headwinds–crippling infrastructure at major airports, and an uptick in fuel prices–which could mean growth may have peaked out for the medium-term.”
The report sees “growth decelerating by 800 basis points (bps) to 13-15 per cent annually in the next five fiscals through 2022, compared with a blistering 22 per cent seen in fiscals 2016 and 2017. This fiscal, its seen slowing by 300-500 bps to 17-19 per cent.”
Promoted by Rahul Bhatia and the US-based Rakesh Gangwal, IndiGo which is the largest airline by domestic market share with close to 38 per cent of the 106 million passenger a year domestic aviation space, had started air services on August 4, 2006 and four years later in September 2011, it began overseas operations as well with a flight to Dubai from New Delhi.
“Flying the 200 millionth passenger is a very special moment for us. This comes within 11 years of our operations,” IndiGo president and whole-time director Aditya Ghosh was quoted as saying in a statement.
Earlier in the day, as part of its regional connectivity plan, the airline commenced its maiden ATR service with a flight to Mangalore from Hyderabad. The airline is aiming to have a fleet of 15 regional jets in the fleet by next December, connecting nearly 15 small towns on its network. The airline operates over 900 flights daily connecting 49 domestic and international destinations with a fleet of 149 aircraft, comprising 148 A320s/A320Neos and one ATR.