IndiGo on Tuesday commenced operations of its first freighter —the A321 Freighter —aircraft between Delhi and Mumbai. The aircraft, converted from a passenger jet to a full freighter configuration, will be used for general freight, the company said in a statement.

The inaugural flight had a payload of more than 20 tonnes on each leg.

The aircraft, and the next aircraft that is due for arrival later this calendar year, will be deployed on international routes too.

According to Mahesh Malik, Chief Commercial Officer – CarGo, IndiGo, Delhi and Mumbai are the two biggest commercial hubs in the country, and the responses received from customers for the cargo service “is very encouraging”.

“We expect the business to grow over the coming few months, as we expand our fleet of freighters and add new destinations to our cargo network,” he said.

24 container positions

The company in its statement added that the A321P2F (Passenger-to-Freighter conversion) is the most efficient narrow-bodied freighter available and it offers 24 container positions, supporting a payload of up to 27 tonnes.

The aircraft is being converted through a programme involving ST Engineering and Airbus with their joint venture, Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW).

IndiGo has leased the aircraft from funds serviced by Castlelake Aviation Holdings (Ireland) Limited, part of a global alternative investment firm with 17 years of tenure investing in, financing, and managing aviation assets.