Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo expects to deploy its Airbus A350-900s primarily on long-range flights, though it is not ruling out using the aircraft to upgauge existing routes with high demand.

Speaking to Airline Business on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Dubai on 3 June, airline chief executive Pieter Elbers said the airline has not “communicated on the network” of the A350s yet, but notes that the aircraft range allows it to “stretch into Europe, Asia…and Australia”. 

IndiGo Pieter Elbers -c- BillyPix

Source: BillyPix

IndiGo chief Pieter Elbers speaking at the sidelines of the IATA AGM.

The airline – India’s largest by domestic market share – in April announced firm orders for 30 A350s. It marked its first widebody order, though the carrier is operating a pair of Boeing 777s today under a wet-lease with Turkish Airlines.

The first A350 is expected to be delivered in 2027. Elbers remains coy about how the new A350s will be configured or where the initial network will be, though he says it is “a fair assumption” that the A350s will go into long-range operations. 

Elbers says: “Typically, if you buy an aircraft with this capability, you want to use this capability. Where we are going to precisely use and what’s going to be this precise area [is] open for discussion.” 

“I’m not ruling out that it can be used on some of the existing routes, but it’s going to be primarily used for new, longer-range destinations,” he adds. 

Weeks after the A350 order was announced, IndiGo disclosed plans to roll out a business class product on some of its aircraft by the end of the year. 

Elbers was again tightlipped on details when asked at the IATA AGM, except to reiterate that the product will be found on aircraft serving “the busiest and business routes” in India. 

He though stresses that the addition of a business class product is not a departure from the traditional low-cost operating model. 

“I would say we’re building on the existing model and we’re adding that opportunity. [It] is a natural evolution of the Indian aviation market…[and] with that natural evolution…for us, it’s a natural addition to the products we are having today,” says Elbers.