IndiGo eyes A321s for slot-constrained airports

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Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo could convert some of its existing orders for Airbus A320s into the larger A321 variant.

This will allow it to deploy an aircraft with higher seat capacity into Indian airports where there is high demand and where slot restrictions exist, says its chief financial officer Riyaz Peermohamed.

The airline has not decided on the number of aircraft that may be converted and will only begin discussions with Airbus after working out its growth plans, he adds.

Peermohamed was speaking on the sidelines of the Aviation 2020 Finance Forum organised by Flightglobal's data and analytics division, Ascend.

Eventually, depending on the decision made for the A320s, the airline could also change some of its existing orders for the A320neo into the A321neo, he says.

IndiGo has an outstanding order for 43 A320s, 20 A321s and 150 A320neos.

"Airports like Mumbai, Pune and Goa are some of those where we could deploy these larger aircraft. There is a lot of demand on these routes and we should be able to fill up an A321 if we use them on these services," he says.

In addition to increasing revenues, the airline's focus remains on keeping its operating costs down. IndiGo intends to do this through improvements such as introducing sharklets on its A320s from next year and by keeping the average age of its aircraft down.

Peermohamed says the average age of IndiGo's fleet is around two years, and that the airline's policy is to not keep the aircraft for longer than six to eight years at the most.

"This results in lower fuel and maintenance costs, and much higher reliability and efficiency. We now have a dispatch reliability of around 99.6%, and that is crucial to our operations," he says.