Friday, February 3, 2023

IndiGo plans UAE route expansion

IndiGo, India’s leading carrier, announced today Ras Al-Khaimah as its 100th destination in its network. The airline will commence new direct daily flights between Mumbai and Ras Al-Khaimah, effective September 22, 2022.

CEO Ronojoy Dutta has confirmed that the LCC intends in the near future to begin serving Ras Al Khaimah, which will become the fourth of the emirates to feature on the carrier’s route map.

This is a major step in the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport transition to become an entry gate for traffic and tourism into Ras Al Khaimah. The airport will be connected to the main hub of IndiGo and will notably boost traffic from India into Ras Al Khaimah and enhance tourism between India and the emirate. IndiGo already offers flights to Dubai International (DXB) from 12 destinations in India, as well as Abu Dhabi from eight points, and Sharjah from three.

“We resumed our scheduled international operations to most of our pre-COVID destinations and we are now roughly operating at pre-COVID international levels,” Dutta said on a conference call following the publication of IndiGo’s first quarter financial results on August 3. “We launched new service to Bahrain on August 1 and plan to launch Ras Al Khaimah soon.”

The Bahrain route from Mumbai will operate daily with Airbus A321 aircraft and become the 25th international destination in the airline’s network and its 99th overall. Bahrain also becomes the 10th point in the Middle East served by IndiGo.

IndiGo’s planned Ras Al Khaimah expansion was announced as the company reported revenues of INR 130,188 million ($1.64 billion) during its first financial quarter for the three months to June 30, up by 310.7 per cent on the same quarter in 2021. Loss before tax narrowed to INR 10,642 million, down from INR 31,742 million a year ago.

“Looking ahead, the second quarter is seasonally the weakest quarter,” Dutta said. “Given this seasonal weakness we do anticipate the second quarter revenue performance to decline sequentially but as of date we do not see any evidence of revenue weakness apart from seasonality.

“Unfortunately, the seasonal revenue decline, coupled with high costs, will lead to profitability challenges.”

However, he added that IndiGo’s prospects are “highly encouraging,” and its expansion is being accompanied by strong growth in connecting traffic. “Additionally, the XLRs which are currently expected in 2024-2025 will allow us to capture nonstop international traffic which is now only served through one-stop competing hubs,” Dutta said.

The airline operates a fleet of 146 A320neos, 35 A320ceos, 65 A321neos and 35 ATRs.

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