IndiGo, the country’s largest carrier, said it inducted a Boeing 777 aircraft on damp lease and would be using it on the Delhi-Istanbul route from February 1, making it the first instance of the airline using a wide body double aisle aircraft.
IndiGo has so far used single aisle, narrow body Airbus A320 and A321 planes on both domestic and international routes. While these narrow body planes offered only economy class, IndiGo will offer business class for the first time on the 400-seater Boeing 777.
Turkey has emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations post pandemic and has been one of the top choices for outbound tourism from India in 2022, IndiGo said in a statement.
In December, the Gurugram-headquartered airline declared that it had received the approval from the DGCA to wet lease a Boeing 777 for operating on the Delhi-Istanbul route. The induction of the new plane will allow the airline to use the existing A321 used on the same route redirected to the domestic sector.
Vinay Malhotra, head of global sales, IndiGo, said, “The introduction of wide body aircraft will not only increase capacity to Istanbul, but also to Europe through codeshare flights with Turkish Airlines.”
IndiGo customers will be able to pre-book hot meals and purchase alcohol for in-flight consumption. The hot-meals menu available to the customer on the Delhi- Istanbul route will include chicken tikka masala with zafrani pulao and urad dal; broccoli and moong dal with basmati pulao; and shahi paneer with basmati pulao and aloo zeera and more options.
The international expansion by IndiGo comes at a time when Tata Group-promoted Air India is in the final stages of placing orders of long-haul and short-haul aircraft with both Airbus and Boeing as part of its efforts to push its market share to new highs.