Thursday, January 13, 2011

IndiGo Growth Likely To Spike Delhi Hub-And-Spoke Domestic Traffic

Aviation Daily Jan 13 , 2011 , p. 11
Neelam Mathews

With budget carrier IndiGo signing a Memorandum of Understanding for 180 Airbus A320 aircraft, of which 150 will be A320NEOs and 30 A320s, Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) and other airports are stepping up to vie for its business.

DIAL, which opened its new Terminal 3 late last year and wants to improve its hub-and-spoke status, says it considers IndiGo an important part of its own growth. The Delhi-Mumbai city-pair, with about 55 daily flights, comprises 45% of the total domestic air traffic in India.

Night parking is considered to be a good source of revenue by all airports. An additional advantage for the airport is being used by airlines as a point of origin. "Night parking is usually tied to the operational need of the airline, so they have the ability to leave on time for the most crucial departure bank, which in a metro area like ours, happens to be the morning bank," says an airport official.

"We definitely see [IndiGo] as being a critical partner with us in growing and accentuating the passenger experience. IndiGo's order of aircraft further solidifies their commitment to the industry.

"Delhi does play an integral part in their growth strategy ... We are constantly working together to create Delhi into a formidable hub ... We see IndiGo as a key contributor to Delhi's continued success as a hub," says a DIAL spokesman.

To the current 12 aircraft (of 34) parked in Delhi ­the airline may add some of the 13 additional aircraft joining its fleet by the end of the year. DIAL says IndiGo has a reasonable number of allotted bays at Delhi "and there are no capacity issues related to their parking requests to align with their growth strategy here at Delhi."

Currently, IndiGo, along with budget carrier GoAir and SpiceJet, uses Terminal 1D—the old Delhi domestic airport—which is expected to be declared a low-cost terminal by DIAL.

"We are studying growth plans of the carriers and looking at all aspects, including long-term initiatives, to see if the terminal can be used as a low-cost one for domestic and international operations," Kiran Kumar Grandhi, chairman of GMR Airports, told Aviation Week.

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