IndiGo plans to wet lease 10 Airbus A320 aircraft from an European carrier to tide over its engine woes and add flights in the busy winter season.
IndiGo, which is the country’s largest airline, has a fleet of around 320 aircraft. This comprises a mix of Airbus and ATR planes. It operates over 1,800 daily flights, but its growth has been hamstrung by grounding of around 40 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320 Neo aircraft.
Necessary approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are being obtained and the planes would be inducted from the next month onwards, said a person in the know.
“With the continuous rise in travel demand, we keep evaluating all possible measures to cater to our customers’ needs,“ IndiGo said in a statement.
Under a wet lease arrangement, a lessor provides pilots, crew and engineering support to a lessee. The DGCA norms dictate conditions under which airlines can wet lease planes. Wet leases are permitted in emergency situations to fill passenger capacity shortage caused by aircraft grounding.
Tie-up with Turkish Airlines
To be sure, IndiGo already has two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on a wet lease from Turkish Airlines, and uses them on the Istanbul route. The two airlines also have an extensive code-share agreement and connect passengers on each others’ networks.
IndiGo has, in the past, wet leased Airbus A320 aircraft too. In 2017, it had wet leased planes from Small Planet Airlines from Lithuania citing aircraft delivery delays. Rival carrier SpiceJet, too, took planes from Correndon Airlines from Turkey on a wet lease this year.
“IndiGo has already guided for capacity guidance in high mid-teens in the current fiscal. If it decides to wet lease aircraft, it will ensure the airline has sufficient capacity in peak travel season and also help compete against Air India group, which has large expansion plans,” said Ameya Joshi, founder of aviation blog Network Thoughts.