IndiGo’s journey under Aditya Ghosh to become India’s largest airline; a peek at its future plans

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Updated: April 28, 2018 10:49:34 AM

In a matter of just over a decade, IndiGo has risen from a single aircraft company to become India’s largest airline by market share. We take a closer look at its journey so far, and a peek into its future growth.

“In about three months, it will be ten years for me in my role as the President of IndiGo and twelve years since IndiGo took to the sky. It’s been an exhilarating ride to say the least.

In a matter of just over a decade, IndiGo has risen from a single aircraft company to become India’s largest airline by market share. Started in August 2006 as a low-cost carrier, IndiGo now has a fleet of 161 aircraft. Aditya Ghosh who spent nearly a decade at the helm, has indeed propelled the airline to great heights. “In about three months, it will be ten years for me in my role as the President of IndiGo and twelve years since IndiGo took to the sky. It’s been an exhilarating ride to say the least. Non-stop and relentless,” Aditya Ghosh wrote in a letter to employees.

IndiGo’s journey to the top has been noteworthy. Apart from garnering the highest market share at about 40% currently, IndiGo is also India’s largest listed airline company by market share. Commanding a whopping 55,000 crore market capitalisation. Listing on the exchanges in 2015, the shares have risen to Rs 1,407.8, nearly doubling investor wealth in the period. Notably, despite its huge market share, IndiGo has been the only consistently profitable domestic airline since 2009. After posting record quarterly profits in July-September-17 quarter, the net profits soared in the October-December quarter too. IndiGo’s net profit for the October-December quarter rose to Rs 762 crore from Rs 487 crore a year earlier, implying a 56% jump.

IndiGo is looking to expand internationally has has huge expansion plans for the next decade. The airline hopes to start flying to the European cities of Frankfurt and Paris, and to Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham in the UK, starting October 2018, as part of its global expansion plans. In line with its expansion plans, the airline had also expressed interest in acquiring only the international operations of Air India. However, the largest carrier by market share refused to bid for the airline after the government’s EOI didn’t provide such an option.

The company is also looking to target under-served areas. In May-17, IndiGo had announced plans to buy 50 ATR turbo-prop planes worth USD 1.3 billion as part of efforts to tap the regional aviation market. With regard to plans for low cost long haul overseas flights, Ghosh told shareholders today that it would “pursue both organic and inorganic opportunities”.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity that exists to traffic from high cost non-stop operators with right kind of low-cost non-stop services out of India. We are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this, primarily because of our significant domestic network,” Aditya Ghosh had said.

IndiGo’s outstanding order for aeroplanes — the largest for any airline in the world — is a testament to this ambition. The airline has 458 aircraft on order, scheduled for delivery over the next decade, to add to its existing 161 aircraft, which is also the largest fleet for any airline in India.

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