American Airlines fixed the India end of the puzzle with IndiGo code share

After a quick deep dive analysis on American Airlines – IndiGo codeshare, I was not keen to write another one. But how can I not write when this website had speculated about a code share and with IndiGo back in April

American Airlines – which returns to India after 2012, starting with flights to New Delhi from New York JFK which begin on Oct 31, 2021, will have a code share in place with IndiGo – the country’s largest carrier by fleet and domestic market share. The code share is subject to approvals by the American and Indian government and regulations.The airline which was to deploy the B777-200 aircraft on this route, has already upguaged it to B777-3000ER even before the route could begin!

While the New York – Delhi route is the first to begin, it wasn’t the first one to be announced! Last February, American Airlines sprung up a surprise when it announced non-stop flights between Seattle and Bengaluru. The launch of this flight has been pushed multiple times due to pandemic and is now scheduled to begin on Jan 04, 2022. The Bengaluru – USA nonstop has truly taken off since this announcement with United Airlines joining the party with a San Francisco – Bengaluru flight, which again is delayed to a March 2022 launch and Air India piping all others to already launch a flight on the sector!

American Airlines is betting on its two newly formed partnerships in the US for these flights. A partnership with Jetblue for the New York – Delhi flight and with Alaska Airlines for the Seattle – Bengaluru flight! 

The India end of the puzzle

With the IndiGo code share, passengers will have access to 29 new routes from Bengaluru and Delhi. Vistara and American Airlines are interline partners but Vistara also has a code share in place with United and would have been unlikely to have also tied up with American for same/ similar routes. With Air India up for privatization and its future not known, American Airlines had few choices – to choose between IndiGo and Spicejet, since no other carrier has the reach or readiness for a code share!

Code share network. Image Source: American Airlines

An extensive red eye bank of flights from IndiGo at both Bengaluru and Delhi, help the connectivity cause. The Seattle – Bengaluru flight is the only non-stop between India and Seattle and attractive enough for other cities since all other options are also one-stop! 

Customers traveling in American’s Business cabin on DEL–JFK or BLR–SEA will have access to IndiGo partner lounges in their originating city where they can relax, unwind and enjoy hot food, beverages, Wi-Fi and more! For the premium passengers who have to fly the India leg in economy class with IndiGo – the choice is between reaching your destination seamlessly and quickly or waiting overnight to get on to another Full Service Carrier – not many of which are left in India! 

Network Thoughts

The New York – Delhi route is one of the densest routes between the two countries, but sometimes airlines get better yields on unique routes than a popular and denser route and that is where the Seattle – Bengaluru route might do the wonders! 

Delta Air Lines has vacated the Indian market, at least for now and the current duel between United and Air India for traffic between India and the United States will see a third player try and break the duopoly. 

This code share is important for IndiGo. As we near a decision on Air India and the likelihood of Air India being bagged by the TATA group, there will only be one Full Service Carrier in the country and that is not enough for code shares from multiple players. IndiGo will be the natural choice. The airline had defended its one-sided code share with Qatar Airways citing system challenges. Its first code share with Turkish Airlines wasn’t a smooth entry. If the carrier has to attract more players to its fold, the world is keenly watching how IndiGo handles this one! This will also justify its investment in being with Travelport!

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