Let the battle begin. . IndiGo launches non-stop Bengaluru – Chandigarh service to counter Air Asia India

For last few days, I was itching to get back to Network Planning – a hobby I have pursued for over 15 years now, and started in the days when I would ask anybody flying around – mostly my father, to get the printed schedule of the airline and then break it down into rotations, aircraft by aircraft. It also was a great way to kill time on the flights whenever I travelled then.

The advent of technology, my stint in Network Planning with Kingfisher and later with Go Air, only increased my knowledge, understanding and interest. While today, I work in the transportation gamut as a whole, the hobby continues.

The itch stopped yesterday, as IndiGo announced a non-stop service on Bengaluru – Chandigarh route, because I think the expansion and capacity induction for the next year or so will be sentimental and not based on analysis, traffic patterns and sustainable growth. Nonetheless,  as an avid Network Planning enthusiast, I have the best seat – on the fence , to see how things turn up.

As tweets started trickling in about IndiGo’s pullout from Delhi – Bangkok sector (I think IndiGo has not yet confirmed this but flights are not open for sale), I checked the timings of those flights and realized that one aircraft would be free, which I was sure, would be deployed on domestic routes, and wrote about this on my blog  post

IndiGo yesterday opened up reservation on Bengaluru – Chandigarh non-stop service  effective 1st September. The entire rotation is designed to take on Air Asia.

6E498 BLR0630 – 0745GOI D (Eff. 3rd Sept)
6E499 GOI0815 – 0930BLR D (Eff. 3rd Sept)
6E477 BLR1000 – 1255IXC D (Eff. 1st Sept)
6E477 IXC1325 – 1425SXR D (Eff. 1st Sept)
6E478 SXR1455 – 1555IXC D (Eff. 1st Sept)
6E478 IXC1625 – 1930BLR D (Eff. 1st Sept)
6E561 BLR2000 – 2110TRV D (Eff. 1st Sept)
6E562 TRV2140 – 2250BLR D (Eff. 1st Sept)

Am I reading too much or is Trivandrum the next destination for Air Asia?

Jet Airways and the least expected – Air India, have jumped into this game of capacity and frequency with Jet Airways, currently 3x Daily on Bengaluru – Kochi, will be 5x Daily. The afternoon frequency will operate on all days except Tuesday owning to closure in Bengaluru.

Jet Airways flights are effective 11thAugust and Air India, will have additional utilization of their ATR-42 based in Bengaluru, effective 1stSeptember.

The flight count on this sector is now 13 each way, which obviously changes depending on day of the week. For a random check which I did while writing this piece, Air Asia flights were available for Rs.990/- each way for September first week, cheaper than the Volvo between the two cities and if Air Asia can break even by December at these fares, I wonder how their financials and aircraft leases are structured!

Only sane news which has come in the last week is that of Air India increasing frequency on the Amritsar – Delhi – Birmingham route to Daily from its current 4x weekly. Glad to know how Delhi as a hub is working for Air India and how B787 DreamLiner is turning a new page and opening up new routes which are successful

As for the domestic scenario – The player with deeper pockets will win again and the consumer will be the winner, sadly only the consumer based on Bengaluru seems to be the winner right now. What more, the overall winner could well be Spicejet, who has so far not shown any inclination to jump in this battle and is busy consolidating its position and salvaging its situation in the market.

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