Indian budget carrier IndiGo marked its 100th destination to its flight roster with daily flights to Ras Al Khaimah from Mumbai. With this, IndiGo now flies to 26 international destinations and 74 domestic.
Speaking to the media after the inaugural flight, Pieter Elbers, newly-named CEO of the airline, noted that the flight was at nearly full capacity and interestingly carried passengers not just from Mumbai but from multiple locations across the country. “I may be just three weeks into this job, but I’m really excited about the journey ahead for IndiGo. With Ras Al Khaimah, we now fly to all six of the GCC countries,” he stated, noting that the UAE is important to the carrier, given that it operates approximately 160 flights between India and the UAE. The airline also recently added a few more destinations, including Bahrain.
Elbers emphasised the company’s focus on growing its international travel business. It has over the past few years forged partnerships with Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air France, KLM and most recently, Virgin Atlantic. “These ties partnerships are beneficial not only to our partners but also to IndiGo. With the kind of foundation we have in both our domestic and international business, we are optimistic about our growth too, especially with the pandemic behind us.
Already, the number of daily flights and passengers we have are higher than pre-Covid times,” he remarked. The airline is currently operating approximately 1,600 flights daily and around 150 of these are international.
As the market leader with around 58% share (as per the latest data released by aviation regulator DGCA), Elbers expressed confidence on account of the travel resurgence and the company’s growing presence. While legacy player Air India is reportedly eyeing a domestic travel market share of 30% in the next five years, Elbers is not rattled by the competition.
He observed, “If you consider the number of Indians who travel by air today, it is merely 7.5% of the population. And just around 6% hold a passport. The scope for growth in this country is immense and there is plenty of room for all to grow. We welcome the competition because it will both, boost the industry and give Indians the ability to travel.” He added that in the competitive aviation segment, IndiGo also has the added advantage of flyer trust.
(The trip for the event was sponsored by IndiGo)