India’s low-cost giant IndiGo has continued its impressive fleet expansion through 2021. The carrier added a huge 11 new A321neos this year alone. This means IndiGo’s A321 fleet has grown by 300% since the pandemic began in February 2020. Let’s find out more about this huge expansion.
IndiGo was Airbus’ largest customer last year, taking 44 new aircraft. Photo: Getty Images
Despite a challenging year in 2020, IndiGo stood out as one of the only airlines globally continuing to take aircraft deliveries. Indeed, the airline was Airbus’ biggest customer in 2020, adding an impressive 44 new planes (even by pre-pandemic standards).
However, the budget giant has not slowed down its deliveries in the first quarter of 2021 either. Q1 saw the airline take delivery of 10 new aircraft, all of them being A321neos this time around. This is the first time in nearly a decade since IndiGo has not taken delivery of a single A320 or A320neo in a quarter.
IndiGo only had 10 A321neos at the start of 2020, but has since ramped up deliveries. Photo: Bahnfrend via Wikimedia Commons
This drastic rise has meant that IndiGo’s A321neo flight has increased to 40 aircraft from just 10 at the start of the last year. The carrier took 19 new A321neos last year and 11 this year, growing the fleet a whopping 300%.
IndiGo uses its larger A321neo on some of its longest routes and high-demand services domestically. For example, the carrier’s longest flight from Delhi to Istanbul (nearly seven hours) uses the larger jet. Routes like Delhi to Bangalore, which sees heavy traffic, also use the 232-seater A321neo.
It seems bizarre that just 18 months ago, IndiGo was facing serious delays to its A321neo delivery schedule. However, with airlines deferring or canceling deliveries due to the pandemic, IndiGo no longer faces bottlenecks in its ambitious delivery schedule.
However, India’s second wave has hit the industry hard, forcing IndiGo to slow its deliveries. The airline only added two planes in April, one A320neo and one A321neo, far fewer than the six in March and three in February. The low-cost giant has not taken any new deliveries in May either, according to Planespotters.net.
IndiGo is currently the second-largest operator of the A321neo, behind China Southern. Photo: Airbus
With international traffic down to nearly zero and domestic traffic falling to less than a third of pre-pandemic levels, new aircraft does not make much sense currently. For now, IndiGo might finally be slowing down its deliveries due to the pandemic.
Only a handful of Indian airlines have grown their fleet over the last year. GoAir has added five new aircraft, including two just last month. Vistara has seen much more growth, with 13 new planes joining the fleet, including 787-9s and A321neos. IndiGo continues to lead the market with over 55 new planes in the last year.
However, other carriers are not in a similar situation. Beleaguered flag carrier Air India has not taken a new plane since 2019, when it completed all orders. Meanwhile, SpiceJet has actually lost aircraft in the last year due to unpaid leases, with the fleet reducing by up to 25%, according to Moneycontrol.
For now, IndiGo is trying to navigate this second wave and ensuring that it will survive this challenge as well. However, this likely means that deliveries will slow for a few months, but will probably ramp up with traffic again.
What do you think about IndiGo’s fleet increase? Let us know in the comments!
Article Source simpleflying.com