Bangalore, Oct 10 (IANS) IndiGo, the latest low-fare domestic carrier, is set to expand its operations with daily flights to tier two cities across the country connecting major metros.
Promoted by the Gurgaon-based InterGlobe Enterprises and Rakesh Gangwal, an aviation industry veteran, IndiGo currently flies to eight destinations from Delhi on the trunk route, carrying about 185 passengers in its brand new aircraft -- Airbus A-320.
'With the fourth aircraft joining our fleet of three A-320s this week, we will connect Mumbai, Nagpur and Vadodra to our route network from Oct 18. With the addition of two more aircraft by the year-end, we will commence flights to Coimbatore, Mangalore, Kochi and Panjim in Goa,' IndiGo president and CEO Bruce Ashby told reporters here Tuesday.
In spite of tough competition from other low-cost, full service and hybrid airlines on the trunk routes, IndiGo has been able to achieve 70-80 percent plane load factor, thanks to the growing demand for affordable, reliable, on-time and hassle free service offered by it.
'Though it is two months since we began our service, the passenger response has been overwhelming, forcing us to operate two flights a day from Delhi to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai and on the Hyderabad-Chennai route,' Ashby said.
The airline also operates daily flights from Delhi to Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal in the northeast and Pune in the west.
Offering multiple fares on first-cum-first basis with early bird incentives, the average cost of ticket between Delhi and Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai ranges from Rs.1,300-2,000, excluding surcharge of Rs. 850
In order to connect more destinations in the northern, eastern and western sectors and increase the daily frequency, the airline has tied up with global aircraft finance corporations such as GE CAS and ILFC to fund the acquisition on nine more aircraft from Airbus by Dec 2007.
'With a fleet of 15 aircraft, we will be operating to 18-20 destinations to fly about 3.5 million passengers by December 2007, as against 475,000 passengers by December 2006. Our target is to expand the route network to 30 cities with 40 A-320s by 2010,' Ashby pointed out.
The airline is investing $50 million (Rs.2.3 billion) upfront for operating its fleet and setting up ground facilities at the airports, hiring and training pilots, cabin crew and support staff. It hopes to break-even in the next 18-24 months..