IndiGo on Friday unveiled a major expansion plan of its international operations. The airline said it will start direct flights to six destinations in Africa and Central Asia, including Nairobi, Tbilisi and Tashkent.
The budget carrier said it is embarking on a “massive” international expansion plan, which will see it connecting Nairobi in Kenya and Jakarta in Indonesia with direct flights from Mumbai in late July or early August.
“Delhi will get connected in August to Tbilisi, Georgia & Baku, Azerbaijan and in September to Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Almaty, Kazakhstan,” the airline said in a statement on Friday. It is expected that once these routes are operational, IndiGo will be connecting a total of 32 international destinations compared with 26 at present.
IndiGo said it will be adding an “impressive 174 new weekly international flights between June and September 2023, including new destinations, routes and frequencies”.
The airline added that it will also be resuming daily services from Delhi to Hong Kong in August. This flight was suspended three years ago during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The addition of these exciting new destinations, new direct flight routes, enhanced flight frequencies and strategic codeshare partnerships, will help us expand our footprint across four continents with Africa and Central Asia being penetrated for the first time. With this expansion in our network, we will now be directly touching 32 international destinations (up from 26), next to our 78 domestic destinations,” IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers said.
Cash-strapped Go First, which is undergoing a voluntary insolvency resolution process, plans to restart operations with 26 planes and 152 daily flights and has submitted the revival plan to aviation regulator DGCA, according to a source.
Besides, the airline is in discussions with lenders for funds to meet the working capital requirements. The airline stopped flying on May 3 and is yet to pay some senior-level executives and pilots.
On the condition of anonymity, the source said the carrier’s salary outgo is around Rs 30 crore per month and currently, the workforce is around 4,700 as many have put in their papers in one month.
The suspension of flights by Go First is burning a hole in the pockets of fliers on certain routes. Domestic travellers are not only fuming over soaring ticket prices but are now calling for the return of fare caps that were removed in August 2022.
The Wadias-led Go First had stopped flying since May 3 as it blamed the non-availability of Pratt & Whitney engines for the grounding of more than half of its operational A320 neo aircraft.
The budget carrier was operating close to 180 flights daily and its absence has led to a spike in airfares in the last month, particularly in routes where it had a major presence.
Its absence in the skies has come during the summer holiday season and rivals are not wasting the opportunity. The past few days have seen travellers taking to social media to highlight the sharp rise in fares with many even saying that a flight ticket to Dubai is cheaper than some of the routes in India.