Delhi-based low-cost airline IndiGo confirmed that it will be using a Boeing 777 that it is taking on a wet lease to operate on the Delhi-Istanbul-Delhi route.

In a statement, the airline said that after receiving in-principle approval for inducting the Boeing 777 on wet lease from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, IndiGo has now applied to the Indian aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for operating this aircraft.

IndiGo will soon make this Boeing 777-capacity available for sale on the Delhi-Istanbul – Delhi route, subject to regulatory approvals,” the airline said in a statement. “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 the go-live date for these aircraft in line with expected receipt of requisite approvals. This wet lease solution will also enable us to better utilize our A321 narrowbody fleet to continue our network deployment in light of the global supply chain issues,” the statement adds.

At the moment Turkish Airlines is the only foreign airline to offer direct services between Turkey and India while IndiGo currently uses the Airbus A321NEO to operate on the India-Turkey route.

While IndiGo is silent on where the widebody aircraft are being leased from it is widely believed that the aircraft are from Turkish Airlines. In the recent past, IndiGo and Turkish have been expanding their cooperation.

In June this year, IndiGo and Turkish resumed their codeshare flights and partnership by opening for sale the codeshare routes earlier the same month. In the 1st phase, both airlines are open for sale, with Turkish Airlines as the marketing carrier, and IndiGo as the operating carrier. Turkish Airlines will place its code on trunk route flights operated by IndiGo on the Delhi-Istanbul route and later from six domestic destinations in India — Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata. 

On November 23 IndiGo launched 19 new connecting flights to Europe, under a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. Under the codeshare pact, IndiGo will be launching a connecting flight to Lisbon and Porto in Portugal apart from Basel and Gevena in Switzerland through Istanbul.

Earlier this month  IndiGo announced 32 new connecting flights to Milan, Manchester, Birmingham, Rome, and Venice starting December 7 through its codeshare with Turkish Airlines.

The induction of the Boeing 777 will see a sea change in IndiGo which till now has been only operating narrow-body aircraft like the Airbus A320 family and ATR. This will also be the first time that IndiGo will be operating a Boeing in its fleet.

IndiGo’s induction of the Boeing 777  comes as more Indian airlines are introducing widebodies to tap the growing demand for international travel to and from India. Earlier this month, Air India announced that it will lease six Boeing 777-300ERs. Air India already announced that these aircraft will have four-class configuration of First, Business, Premium Economy, and Economy, and will be deployed to connect Indian metro cities with even more international destinations.

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Former Senior Deputy Editor at Business Line (aka The Hindu Business Line)

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