Making the Best of Indian Skies
Commenced merely a decade ago, IndiGo has emerged as one of the largest airlines in India with its focus on flying on time, keeping the process from booking to de-boarding hassle free and most importantly offering low fares, says Aditya Ghosh.
Despite being one of the youngest airline in India, IndiGo is amongst the biggest players. How did the airline manage to do so? What is the strategy?
The strategy is simple – our focus is on three simple things – flying on time; keeping the whole experience from booking a ticket to collecting bags courteous and hassle free; and finally sticking to our religion of offering low fares. Market share is something we don’t chase. The airline’s strong load factor is nothing but a reflection of satisfied and delighted customers who come back and fly with us and encourage others to try IndiGo. We are constantly trying to be that reliable and consistent airline that customers have come to love. We may not get it right 100 pc of the time, but every day, all of us are putting in our best effort to get there.
How have you maintained the low-cost structure? And what are the future plans?
We focus on continuously bringing the cost structure down by bringing in newer and more efficient airplanes that creates a structural cost advantage. We are the largest customer of Airbus A320neo aircraft that potentially burns 10-15 pc less fuel. We focus on green operating procedures that helps us reduce our carbon footprint. As we gain scale we will get efficiencies from scaling size.
What are your expansion plans? And what is your outlook for airfares, demand and revival of the market?
IndiGo’s growth plans have been consistent since its order of first 100 aircraft and its subsequent launch in 2006. Our growth is aimed at providing seamless travel to our customers at affordable fares. In the process of our expansion, we will continue to develop connectivity both in terms of breadth and depth of service across the country.
Besides focusing on 6E’s three core principles – on time performance, providing consistently low fares, and a courteous and hassle-free travel experience, the airline will continue to tap the huge passenger traffic the Indian market has to offer in the years to come. To meet the growing travel demand, IndiGo’s fleet expansion remains intact.
India is one of the least penetrated aircraft markets in the world with only one commercial plane for every three million Indians. Even countries like Indonesia and Philippines have three or four times the aircraft density of India. This leads to a mismatch of supply and demand leading to high fares that are often beyond the reach of the common man. As air travel becomes more prevalent in India, IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it – both in India and abroad.
How are your current operations doing? How much do they contribute to your revenue? What are your expansion plans in terms of both routes and fleet?
IndiGo has a single type of aircraft – the Airbus 320, with a single class configuration comprising of 180 seats. With 35 domestic destinations and five international destinations, we are regularly adding new routes and frequencies, including non- metro routes. We run a profitable business and attract customers from all areas of our network with a strong and ever growing demand for IndiGo.
How do you see the competitive environment in the current Indian aviation industry? How are you different from the current start-ups coming in?
Our competition is with who we were yesterday. Our endeavor is to provide the best-in-class experience to all our customers at the most efficient cost structure. Therefore, we will stay focused on keeping our costs low and delivering a high quality product. However at the same time, we welcome competition in the market, and believe that it will help grow the market and improve the overall offering to the customer.
You have 250 A320s in your order book. What are the plans for more additions?
To meet the growing travel demand, IndiGo’s fleet expansion remains intact. In December 2015, we celebrated a significant milestone as we took our fleet size to 100 Airbus A320 aircraft. Thereafter, more airplanes shall be inducted into our fleet between 2016 and 2025 as part of our existing airplane orders. Ordering more A320s was a natural choice to meet India’s growing flying needs.
Are you expecting to see more fare cuts and will IndiGo go ahead and cut fares further?
One of the key customer promises of IndiGo is to offer ‘always affordable’ fares to customers. Hence, we will continue to be amongst the lowest fare options for our customers consistently.
Finally what are your interests and expectations from the Hydearabad airshow?
The India Aviation Conference provides an excellent platform to build business opportunities and exchange technology, while also raising customer awareness and meeting new and exciting customers. We are excited to be a part of this conference.