After receiving in-principle approval for inducting B777 aircraft on a wet lease basis from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA), IndiGo has now applied for final approval from the aviation regulator DGCA for these operations as per the prescribed procedure.
In coordination with the process of these approvals, IndiGo will soon make this 777-capacity available for sale on the Delhi – Istanbul – Delhi route, subject to regulatory approvals.
“We are working closely with the authorities to ensure all the required steps to obtain the approvals are completed well in time and will consider the earliest go-live date for these aircraft in line with the expected receipt of requisite approvals. This wet lease solution will also enable us to better utilize our A321 narrow-body fleet to continue our network deployment in light of the global supply chain issues.”Spokesperson, IndiGo
IndiGo is planning to wet lease aircraft to meet the growing demand for air travel. Under a ‘wet lease’ arrangement, the lessor maintains operational control of flights while providing aircraft and crew. Generally, wet leasing of planes is allowed for short periods to tackle supply constraints and ensure that airfares do not surge significantly.
Keeping in view the demand and growth in aviation traffic, Indigo is looking to expand its fleet and International operations.
Earlier in October, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had rejected IndiGo’s request to wet lease the aircraft from Turkish Airlines for a year (extendable by one year) because the rules allow for only three months, extendable by a further three months. Wet leasing in India is only allowed to overcome sudden capacity constraints.
The regulator saw IndiGo’s request as a diversion of traffic rights in collusion with a strong foreign carrier that would only feed the latter’s hub. After DGCA’s rejection, IndiGo approached the Ministry of Civil Aviation for special permission, which it has now acquired to induct the wide-body aircraft.
On November 27, IndiGo said it has approached the ministry and received a communication conveying the ministry’s approval to allow Indian carriers to wet/damp lease aircraft for six months extendable by another six months.
Such relaxation shall be available to all Indian carriers on their specific request, and the ministry will consider the same based on international destinations that the airline intends to operate, it had said.
Earlier, on the occasion of declaring recent financial results of the airline, Indigo CEO Pieter Elbers said, “We are on a steady path to recovery, benefiting from enormous opportunities both in domestic and international markets. With an industry challenged by global supply chain disruptions, we are working on various countermeasures to accommodate this strong demand. We have an unparalleled network presence enabling air travel to 74 domestic and 26 International destinations, we will continue to accelerate and build on this.”
As of September 30, a fleet of 279 aircraft, including 26 A320 CEOs, 149 A320 NEOs, 68 A321 NEOs, 35 ATRs and 1 A321 freighter; there was a net decrease of three passenger aircraft during the quarter. IndiGo operated at a peak of 1,630 daily flights with 76 domestic and 26 international destinations during the quarter, including non-scheduled flights.
The ministry has also asked all the airlines to operate wide-body aircraft so that they can ferry more passengers from India to foreign countries.
On Thursday, December 15 civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said India’s civil aviation market is poised for double-digit growth in the next decade and the country’s carriers should have more wide-body planes to capture the long-haul segment.