By way of underscoring the vast range of IndiGo’s operations in India, the airline CEO Pieter Elbers on Wednesday said it covers 87 per cent of India’s population. On the international side, Elbers said that the airline is building a base to leverage the potential internationally. 

“When you speak about giving wings to the country, we can assure that 87 per cent of India’s population is within a 100-kilometre range of an indigo share of the airport. Two hours drive within range of the airport, which is a wonderful asset,” Elbers said.

Expansion plans

With operations spanning the country, the airline operates 2,000 flights daily to 120 destinations. Over time, this has grown to serve 100 million customers annually, supported by a fleet of 350 aircraft. Furthermore, the airline has placed orders for an additional 1,000 aircraft to meet future demand.

“Delhi is a stronghold but Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kolkata are in the picture and we are just continuing to expand. Long-term planning is very important. Our three customer promises right from the start of Indigo – on-time performance, affordable, fast and hassle-free service – remain the very foundation, a cornerstone of IndiGo. And we’ve added here an unparalleled network,” he said 

On the potential to grow in the international segment, Elbers said, “India has the potential to become a major aviation hub given that 65 per cent of the world’s population resides within a five to six-hour flight radius. This presents a significant opportunity for further growth.”

Opportunity to grow

India’s strategic location offers the opportunity to serve as a central hub for connecting global traffic. By positioning itself as a key transit point, India can reduce reliance on Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian hubs. 

“If you look at the location of India and what it could do in connecting traffic either in the Middle East or in Southeast Asia, I think we have a wonderful opportunity,” he said.

“Currently, the majority of international air travel is dominated by non-Indian carriers, presenting a significant opportunity for India to capture this traffic, particularly with a large portion of travellers originating from here. Recent additions of destinations such as Baku, Nairobi, Tbilisi, and Tashkent reflect a changing demand in Indian travel preferences, moving away from traditional destinations like Dubai and Phuket. Collaborations with international partners like Turkish Airlines and others enable India to enhance its global connectivity and brand recognition. Despite being the seventh largest airline globally in terms of daily departures, this fact may not be widely known outside of India. These partnerships are crucial in laying the groundwork for future growth and expansion into new markets.” he added.

He said the partnership with Turkish Airlines and other leading international carriers is leading to growing brand awareness and it is reshaping Indian travel demands. “As we increasingly connect with global partners, we’re preparing for future growth. With over 90 million Indian customers out of 100 million, we’re leveraging our position as the seventh-largest airline in the world by daily departures to expand our reach internationally. Through partnerships like the one with Turkish Airlines, we offer connectivity to over 35 European destinations,” he said.

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