IndiGo, GoAir limit altitude for A320neos after technical snags
After a series of technical snags, IndiGo and GoAir have asked pilots to limit the altitude for the new Airbus A320neo to 30,000 feet instead of the usual 36,000. This will mean higher fuel use, but will reduce strain on the Pratt & Whitney engines. Such issues are not uncommon for buyers of new aircraft, and are mostly resolved in two years.
IndiGo is a budget airline that is run by InterGlobe Aviation Limited. It is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana and it started operations in 2006. With its fleet of 115 airplanes, it has the highest market share of 39.8%. It reported a net profit of Rs.1,990 crore for year ending 31 March 2016; this was an increase of 53% on Rs.1,305 crore from last year.
IndiGo: Leader of the Indian aviation sector
According to recent figures released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, IndiGo's market share is equivalent to the combined market share of four Indian airlines: Jet Airways at 19.2%, Air India at 14.6%, AirAsia India at 2.2% and the newly launched Vistara at 2.4%.
Revamp of IndiGo underway
IndiGo plans to add 24 Airbus A320neos in the current financial year; this would make up 18% of its current fleet of planes. In 2014, IndiGo leased 12 planes from Tigerair, a Singapore-based airline. Since 2014, the airline has leased 10 additional aircraft from other operators as well. Some of these planes were recently inducted and the remaining will join IndiGo's fleet by October.
The 'A320neo' is the latest upgrade to the Airbus A320 family. It features the 'Pratt & Whitney's PurePower engines whose "propulsion technology improvements" increase fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. The A320neo is equipped with 'Sharklets' which are wingtip devices; they offer an overall fuel burn savings of 4%. Sharklets also offer reduced engine maintenance costs, better rate-of climb and higher residual aircraft value.
IndiGo inducts new Airbus planes
IndiGo airline has started inducting Airbus A320neo planes with new engines into its fleet. In 2011, IndiGo had ordered 430 fuel-efficient Airbus A320neos but had faced delivery delays due to engine manufacturing issues. Since summer 2016, IndiGo has inducted 8 A320neos. According to analysts, these new planes could increase IndiGo's market share by helping it corner 50% of the market by next year.
Why the induction of A320neos is significant?
Leasing A320neos cost approximately 15% more, however they offer an impressive savings of 14.3% in fuel consumption compared to standard Airbus A320s. Standard Airbus A320 planes are currently in use by IndiGo and majority of Indian airlines. Fuel makes up about 40% of an airline's operational expenses: IndiGo anticipates a chunk of savings in fuel in the long-term when A320neos replace IndiGo's older planes.
IndiGo: Most reliable airline?
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the newly launched Vistara Airlines is considered the most punctual and IndiGo is considered the most reliable as it has the fewest flight cancellation rates. IndiGo flies to 41 destinations and operates over 840 flights daily.
IndiGo seeks new A321neos
Sources said that InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, which operates IndiGo Airlines, seeks to modify its Airbus A320neo planes' order to include some of the newer A321neo aircraft as well. The A321neo can fly longer distances and accommodate more passengers too. The company is also looking at other engine options for the A320neos. Besides, the A320neo's Pratt and Whitney engines have had several technical faults.