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IndiGo seeks one-stop Europe flights via Tbilisi, Baku at 30% lower fare

The airline, which will compete against full-service airlines like British Airways, Air India and Jet Airways, plans to market the route by offering it at a 30 per cent lower fare

Arindam Majumder  |  New Delhi 

IndiGo

is looking at starting a flight to and to other European cities through a single stop. The is in discussion with the airports in (Georgia) and (Azerbaijan). The plan is to start the route by March.

The will operate the route with an Airbus A321 aircraft and will use the airport it lands at on the way as a technical stop, the term for a landing to refuel, with passengers not allowed to disembark. “The is also in discussion with airport but it has high landing charges. So, or is likely to be the airport through which the airline will operate to Europe,” said a source. is in talks with to finalise the timing.

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Queries from Business Standard to airport got no response. “showed its interest in the Georgian aviation market back in the summer of 2018. The meetings with the Georgian side in August were organised by us,” went a statement from TAV Holdings, which operate the airport. The airline will compete against full-service airlines British Airways, and on the route. The plan is to charge 30 per cent less. Travel sector executives say if IndiGo is able to do so, it could create a new class of flyers. “Such airlines always open up a totally new segment. Look at IndiGo in the domestic sector — they created a completely new segment of travellers. Similarly, the traditional Indian flyer to might stick with the established carriers but in a country as large as India, this (IndiGo's idea) will have takers, who might be taking a tougher flight so that they can do some extra things on their holiday,” said Subhash Goyal, chairman of


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However, experts adds, it won’t be easy. “Having one stop to European cities will pit the airline against other full-service carriers. Second, a lot of revenue comes from cargo, which will be minimal in a narrow body (aircraft). Without an advantage in capacity deployment, it would be difficult for IndiGo to emulate what they did in domestic travel,” says Ameya Joshi, founder of airline blog Network Thoughts.

IndiGo had changed its aircraft order book, to upgrade 125 of the A320 Neos to the larger variant, the A321 Neo. The latter would take around four hours to reach Baku or Tbilisi; it would be another four hours to

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IndiGo’s A321 Neos will come with 222 seats, in a single-class configuration. The aircraft will come with an additional fuel tank, increasing the range to six hours. "We think that is going to bring a lot of opportunities to international flights,” said Greg Taylor, recently announced as the next chief executive of IndiGo.

First Published: Thu, November 15 2018. 19:27 IST
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