Our Bureau

New Delhi, July 31

In the country for his father's 90th birthday, Mr Rakesh Gangwal, founder of low-cost airline IndiGo, stopped in Delhi for the launch press conference.

During his two-decade long career in aviation, Mr Gangwal worked in senior management positions with leading airlines, including United Airlines, Air France and US Airways.

In June last year, the low-cost airline stunned the aviation industry by announcing a firm order for 100 Airbus A-320 aircraft at the Paris airshow.

In an informal chat with newspersons, Mr Gangwal, while accepting that it was unusual for a start-up to order 100 aircraft, spoke on the new airline. Excerpts:

What are IndiGo's plans?

In the next 3-5 years, we plan to cover pretty much most of India. However, if demand goes up we will not raise fares but get more aircraft. We have built enough flexibility in the delivery of the 100 Airbus aircraft to ensure that we are able to step up deliveries in case demand goes up.

I have played an active role in the business plan of the airline and have talked to friends in Rolls Royce, Airbus and Pratt and Whitney.

What will be the focus of the airline?

We plan to offer point-to-point flights that will be reliable. We will also offer low fares.

What makes the airline different?

We offer a value proposition to the passenger. The customer is very smart. We will offer not only low fares but also hassle free travel. As Bruce (the CEO) has said, we will try and ensure that the lines at the airports are kept to a minimum.

We are betting on India. There may be some people in this sector for quick financial returns but we would not have put together such a team in that case.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 1, 2006)
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