IndiGo’s China foray

IndiGo has filed for flights to Guangzhou from Kolkata effective 17th October. This was reported by Routes Online this morning. This comes a day after the airline started flights to Chengdu from New Delhi, its first destination in mainland China. The airline operates flights to Hong Kong – from Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Network Thoughts was the first to report on the airline obtaining approval from CAAC to fly to Chengdu and Guangzhou. The flights to Chengdu started yesterday.

6E1035 DEL2200 – 0455+1CTU

6E1036 CTU0555 – 0815DEL

As per the information published by Routes Online, the airline has filed below timings for flights to Guangzhou.

6E1376 CCU2040 – 0250+1CAN
6E1377 CAN0350 – 0505CCU

Guangzhou is third busiest airport in China and has three operational runways along with 170+ bays. China Southern has its base at Guangzhou airport and operates to Delhi. The city is considered one of the most prosperous in China. It is a sister city of Ahmedabad.

Chengdu Airport is one of the important hubs of Air China and headquarters for Sichuan Airlines and Chengdu Airlines and is the fourth busiest airport in mainland China. The airport has two parallel runways and currently does not have a non-stop service to India. The city is an important base for manufacturing in China and has attracted IT, Logistics and Electronics industries. The area also has large automobile and defense industries. Interestingly the city has sister city agreements with Agra and Bengaluru.

IndiGo has been careful in choosing the city pairs for its China foray. There currently aren’t any flights from Kolkata to Guangzhou and likewise to Chengdu from New Delhi. The New Delhi – Guangzhou route is served by China Southern 14 times a week. Kolkata is connected to Kunming by China Eastern Airlines.

There definitely remains questions about the timings for the flight to Guangzhou. One must not forget that China is difficult market – both to crack in terms of passengers and to obtain slots. There are airlines which are operating to Guangzhou at times like those of IndiGo and it includes both local and international carriers. The case is similar at Chengdu.

The timings indicate two things – the airline is looking at India side to make the flights work with two-way connections for these flights and the flying is likely to additional utilization of aircraft which pushes the overall utilization higher. This could help the airline aim at profitability earlier than what the market can anticipate. All flights take time to make inroads in the market they operate, and the time is a little longer when it comes to international flights, especially those on virgin routes. It will be interesting to see if the airline will have any interline or codeshare agreements with Chinese carriers. IndiGo has a code share in place with Turkish Airlines where it was expected to open up 20 destinations beyond Istanbul but has so far been stuck at 12. This flight to Guangzhou will add to the list of its international flights from Kolkata – which has recently seen announcements of flights to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Yangoon.

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