IndiGo CarGo flying high, but under the radar

The Rahul Bhatia-led IndiGo is often compared to the tortoise that won the race. IndiGo is steadfast in its approach and does not make a song and dance about it. As of February 2015, in addition to being India’s largest low fare carrier, it is the fastest growing low cost carrier in the world. With a market share of 37.1 per cent of the Indian skies, IndiGo is also the country’s largest airline. Manfred Singh reports.

but under the radar IndiGo CarGo flying high

Offering 623 daily flights connecting 38 destinations including five international stations of Bangkok, Dubai, Kathmandu, Muscat and Singapore, the carrier has a fleet of 94 Airbus A320s (it ordered 250 A320s at a list price of US$25 billion in October last year).

Though stakeholders have been aware of IndiGo’s air cargo prowess, the carrier has not made waves about it. So strong is desire to keep cargo under the radar – IndiGo wants to be known and recognised only as a LCC – that Sanjay Kumar, the carrier’s chief commercial officer when asked why IndiGo’s cargo services had been so low-key, answered like a veteran politician, “No comments”.

Kumar and his boss – IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh – is well aware of how important cargo is. In a novel move, the carrier decided some time ago to reduce the weight of its seats on its A320s: 70 of the 100 planes – the 100th plane will join the IndiGo fleet at the end of this year – were fitted out with the Sicma Dragonfly from the French Zodiac Aerospace.

These seats weigh only 7.5 kg and are four kg lighter than the Weber 5600 seats it had been using. In this single innovative move, the carrier lessened the operating empty weight (OEW) of the aircraft by 700 kg. As a result, while it will be bringing down fuel costs by around US$6.5 million, it will importantly free up the 700 kg for its CarGo division.