IndiGo Co-Founder and Managing Director Rahul Bhatia have said the airline needs to continue expanding its domestic and “regional international footprint” besides strengthening the cargo franchise in the near term.
In an e-mail to employees on Tuesday, February 8, Bhatia, who was appointed as the Managing Director on February 4, said that he was looking forward to working closely with the management team just not only to establish and achieve near-term goals but also to get the company to be future-ready for the massive opportunity that lies ahead.
Bhatia has taken over as the airline’s first Managing Director at a time when the domestic aviation space is expected to see increased competition, particularly in the wake of Tatas acquiring Air India and Akasa Air expected to start services this year.
IndiGo is the country’s largest airline and has more than 50% of the domestic market share.
“In this (MD) role, I look forward to working closely with the management team to not only establish and achieve near-term goals but to get the company to be future-ready for the massive opportunity that lies ahead,” Bhatia said.
According to him, the airline should continue to grow “the domestic and the regional international footprint, further strengthen our cargo franchise with the induction of the first batch of A321 freighters, starting this summer, rapidly implement the digital agenda and prepare for entry into service of the A321 XLR aircraft”.
The induction of A321 XLR will extend IndiGo’s reach into markets where it has not been in a position to serve so far, he added. During the IPO process in 2015, the promoters and the then management team had promised an Indian airline of “great significance” to public shareholders, he said.
“I, as a founder-promoter, owe it our country and our shareholders the necessary stewardship to ensure that we continue to live up to our promise”.
In the last more than 16 years, employees’ collective efforts have built an “admirable” Indian brand, which has earned the goodwill of customers and public shareholders alike, Bhatia said.
IndiGo had a fleet of 283 aircraft, including 56 A320 CEOs, 140 A320 NEOs, 52 A321 NEOs and 35 ATRs at the end of December 2021. It operated a peak of 1,574 daily flights during the quarter, including non-scheduled flights.
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On February 4, IndiGo posted a profit after tax of INR 129.8 crore in the three months ended December 2021 amid the pandemic clouds. The airline’s parent InterGlobe Aviation had a loss of INR 620.1 crore in the year-ago period.