Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo withdrew several international services to Singapore and Bangkok this year after finding opportunities to grow in the more lucrative domestic market.
The airline stopped its Mumbai-Bangkok, Mumbai-Singapore and New Delhi-Singapore services on 28 February. Following that, it increased frequencies on various popular domestic services to hubs such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
"What happened was several domestic slots opened up. These are very lucrative services with high yields and we had to deploy our aircraft on routes that have a bigger impact," says IndiGo's chief executive Aditya Ghosh.
The airline will continue to place capacity on international services where there is growth, he adds. On 1 March, IndiGo started a daily Chennai-Singapore service. It also plans to increase services between various Indian cities and Dubai to up to 11 daily from eight daily, says Ghosh.
Within India, the airline continues to eye links between the major metro cities and the tier II and III cities that can take its Airbus A320 aircraft.
"Demand is high in the tier II and III cities. We fly to 28 cities in India and that could increase in the coming year. Most of the traffic is to the main metro cities, and so we are well placed to take advantage of that. We will also consider additional services between the metros if that opens up," he adds.
The airline, however, has no plans to add regional aircraft to its fleet in order to reach the Indian cities whose airport runways are unable to take the A320s. Rival Spicejet operates Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s, which it says has paid off handsomely.
Ghosh believes, however, that this will add unnecessary cost and complexity to the IndiGo business which hinges on keeping the model simple. He adds that with the Indian government's plans to upgrade many of the country's airports, the airline will be able to fly its A320s to more cities in the near term.