India’s largest domestic carrier by market share IndiGo took the delivery of first of its 50 ATR72-600 aircraft today at Toulouse. The aircraft will fly to India via multiple stops starting with Brindisi airport in Italy and Heraklion International Airport, Greece, Hurghada, Egypt & Sharjah, UAE before making it to India. The aircraft is registered VT-IYA (MSN: 1457).
The airline has opted for a 74 seater version of the ATR72-600 which sees 4 seats facing each other. The manufacturer advertises the aircraft to fly upto 900 nautical miles or 1665 kilometers with full load, powered by two Pratt & Whitney 127M engines.
IndiGo also took delivery of its first 186 seater A320neo which flies non-stop from Hamburg to New Delhi on its delivery flight. VT-ITZ (MSN: 7892) was test registered as D-AVVD and had its first flight on 6th November 2017. This will be the 26th A320neo in the fleet of IndiGo and the airline will have a fleet of 143 aircraft (116 A320ceo, 26 A320neo, 1 ATR72-600). A few more A320neos are expected to join in the next couple of weeks.
This website was the only one to say that IndiGo is not inducting the space-flex version of the A320neo when it took delivery of its first aircraft in March 2016 (http://networkthoughts.in/the-neos-are-coming/)
The space-flex concept sees the rear lavatory re-arranged for one row of additional seats, taking the total seating capacity of the A320neo to 186 seats. The last row is typically a non-window row but there is flexibility to adjust the seat pitch so have some view for the last row passenger.
This is the first time that the airline will move from its “Simple” model of all 180 seater aircraft to a multi fleet / sub-fleet model where they will operate 186 seater A320neo, 180 seater A320neo, 180 seater A320ceo and 74 seater ATR72-600.
It will have a marginal impact on its ability to swap aircraft in the shorter run and as the fleet becomes more diverse, a considerable impact on the longer run. The 186 seater should ideally be deployed on peak flights between Delhi & Mumbai to get some additional capacity.
This will also be the first time that the airline will have to look at different inventory levels from a revenue management perspective.
Operationally, the delay in delivery of A320neo has already led to the airline opting for multiple sub classifications and engine types on its fleet of A320ceo as it leased out available planes from the market. It is unclear on how much it added to the maintenance and training cost of the airline.
In the next one year or so, impact of ATR induction on CASK and RASK should be known. This could also be the time when the airline moves on to its next level of inducting a widebody aircraft for long haul, along with the A321neo which could be used for newer international routes, in addition to increasing capacity on certain domestic segments.