IndiGo intends to fly the A330-300 to Manchester in summer 2020

IndiGo – India’s largest carrier by domestic market share and fleet seems to have made up its mind about operating the wide body aircraft. The airline has filed and now has approved slots at Manchester for a daily flight each from Mumbai and New Delhi. As per the filing and initial approval released by slot co-ordinator ACL, the airline will operate the A330-300 on this route. The airline currently does not operate any wide body aircraft.

As per the filing by the airline, it would operate 341 seats. While there are few spare A330-300s in the market, none of them seem to be in this configuration. AirAsia X – the low cost long haul arm of AirAsia operates the aircraft configured in 377 seats, in two class configuration while a mono class A330-300 from Garuda Indonesia seats 360 passengers.

The slots which the airline is holding at Manchester are 1750/1950 for Mumbai flight and 1725/1925 for Delhi flight. This suggested an afternoon departure from India, between 1300 – 1400 hours and evening arrival in Manchester. The return flight would operate with a two hour turnaround time and land in India by 1000 hours. These timings would give effective two way connections from multiple points in India with the southern part being covered from Mumbai and the North and East being covered from New Delhi.

Snippets from the document released by ACL-UK

If and when the airline starts these operations, the lack of seamless transfers from Domestic to International and vice versa will be a challenge. More on this will covered on this blog, when Part three of the three part series on global ambitions of Indian LCCs would come up.

Jet Airways operated to Manchester from Mumbai for a short period of time before the airline suspended operations. The India – UK market is getting interesting again with Virgin Atlantic starting its second daily to New Delhi, and carriers from India waiting to mount flights to the UK.

Not the first time

This is not the first time that IndiGo has filed for slots at airports in UK. Last summer IndiGo had filed for slots at London Stansted for flights from New Delhi and Bengaluru, operated by the A321neo. Air India, since then, has started flights to London Stansted from Amritsar. IndiGo and rival Spicejet had also filed for flights to Birmingham. While IndiGo’s last filings were based on A321neo, Spicejet had filed with a 267 seater A330. None of the plans have materialized for the low cost carriers yet.

Its last filing was at London Heathrow, where along with Vistara, the slots were rejected.

The India – UK market is getting interesting and Network Thoughts will keep tracking it going forward. It will be worthwhile to note that a slot filing does not mean that the airline will start flights, but only indicates inclination of the airline to start operations. However, a repetitive filing of slots and not operating does dent the credibility of any airline.


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