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IndiGo to expand international operations

PTI     August 25, 2011

Low-cost air-carrier IndiGo Airlines has said it will allocate almost 16 per cent of its fleet capacity for international operations by March and ruled out any hike in fares in the near term.

"By next March, that is the first six months of our international operations, we will be dedicating 15-16 per cent of our total aircraft capacity to international operations," IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said on the sidelines of a Ficci-IBA summit on Wednesday.

"Hopefully, this would be profitable too. By next March, we should have about 55 aircraft," he added.

When asked whether the airline plans to hike fares in the run-up to the festive season, Ghosh replied in the negative.

"I don't believe in fare hikes. I just believe in lots more people flying and being a profitable airline," he said.

On the rationale for entering international routes, Ghosh said he sees "massive" demand in these markets.

"Not a single Indian low-fare carrier flies through these routes. So we see a massive demand and a gap in these markets. We hope to repeat the same thing that we have done in the domestic sector in these markets too: keeping our offering simple and offering low fares," Ghosh said.

"We believe there is a demand for international travel out of the country. As long as demand is there, we will chase that market, whether it is domestic or international," he said.

Ghosh also said the low-cost carrier will be deploying A-320s on its international routes.

The airline is currently operating on the Delhi-Dubai, Mumbai-Dubai, Delhi-Singapore and Mumbai-Muscat routes.

"Basically, we are going to look at South-East Asia and the Middle East as our territory. That's why Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and Muscat will be our first few sectors, as there is a large Indian population in these markets," Ghosh said.

He also hinted at connecting these international markets with major Southern markets, beginning with Kerala.

"We would love to add one or two more flights on the same sector. And then probably add Jeddah and Kathmandu to this. It is the Middle East, South-East Asia and Asia (that will be our priority)," he added.

At a time when the aviation industry is witnessing growth in attrition levels, Ghosh said the trend is non-existent as far as IndiGo is concerned.

"We are going to create 1,000 more jobs in the next one year. Our focus is on more job opportunities," he said, adding that there is no attrition at all now.

"My attrition rate currently is down to zero," he said.

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