IndiGo To Double Down On Cargo And Low-Cost Structure In 2022

As the new year comes around, IndiGo is focusing its efforts on boosting revenue and staying true to its roots. The airline is on track to take delivery of its first A321F in the first half of 2022, making it India’s third cargo operator. However, this change won’t change the airline’s priorities, with no frequent-flyer program on the cards.

IndiGo will focus on returning to profitability and resuming international destinations in the coming year. Photo: Getty Images

All about freight

In a statement last week, seen in The Economic Times, IndiGo CCO William Boulter talked about the carrier’s plans for 2022. Perhaps the most exciting change for IndiGo will be the induction of its first A321P2F (passenger to freighter).

First announced in April, the airline is on track to take delivery of its first A321P2F in the first half of 2022. These planes can carry up to 27 tonnes of cargo, nearly double the belly capacity of a standard A321. IndiGo will take delivery of four of these A321s as part of the initial order.

The A320/A321 conversion programs will challenge the existing 737F aircraft. With cargo revenue soaring last year, more and more airlines have ordered conversions in the last year. As passenger aircraft are retired too, there is no shortage of jets to convert. Qantas and Titan Airways were the first airlines to begin flying the A321P2F.

No change

As is expected from most low-cost carriers, IndiGo does not have a frequent flyer program. However, last year, the airline partnered with HDFC Bank and MasterCard to offer a co-branded credit card. The card would allow passengers to earn points that can be converted into vouchers for booking flights.

This partnership was also extended to Kotak Mahindra Bank last week, raising questions if IndiGo is eventually eying its own program. However, Boulter shut down such talk, saying IndiGo was not considering its own FF program and would focus on co-branded cards only.

IndiGo Air India
IndiGo won’t join the ranks of full-service Air India and Vistara with a frequent flyer rewards program. Photo: Getty Images

Instead, Boulter says that IndiGo already has the best rewards program: low prices, adding,

“People seem to come back a lot to avail of those low fares. Our focus is very much on co-branded [card] arrangement at the moment.”

Year of recovery

Despite the looming threat of Omicron, Indian airlines are hoping that 2022 will be the year of consistent recovery. With the availability of vaccines and global borders reopening, IndiGo has the chance to ramp up its international destinations in time for the lucrative summer. Even today, the airline’s flights to Turkey and China remain closed due to travel restrictions.

On the domestic side, things seem to be going well. IndiGo briefly surpassed pre-COVID capacity in November and expects to reach the same traffic numbers by early 2022 as well. While a new wave could set this back a few months, domestic travel is likely to return fully before the end of the year. For now, 2022 is looking like a strong one for the airline.

What do you think about IndiGo’s plans for 2022? Let us know in the comments!

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