IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has signed a significant deal to bolster its presence in the long-haul market. The company agreed to purchase 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, with the option to acquire an additional 70 planes in the future. This move will allow IndiGo to expand its network beyond domestic flights and compete for passengers on long-distance routes.

Commenting on the new deal, IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers highlighted the importance of this moment, stating, “Today’s historic moment marks a new chapter for IndiGo and will further shape the future of the airline and for Indian aviation at the same time. For IndiGo, after successfully pioneering the Indian skies with an unprecedented journey, its fleet of 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft will allow IndiGo to embark on its next phase of becoming one of the leading global aviation players.”

IndiGo currently boasts a strong domestic presence with a fleet of over 350 aircraft, primarily Airbus A320 family planes. Last year, they placed the largest ever single aircraft order by any airline for 500 A320neo family aircraft with Airbus.

Airbus EVP Sales Benoît de Saint-Exupéry said that this “is an exciting new chapter in our close partnership with IndiGo.” He praised IndiGo for revolutionising domestic air travel and stated that “with the A350 selection, IndiGo is now embarking on further opening the world to India.”

This move by IndiGo comes amidst a growing long-haul market in India. IndiGo is not alone in its ambitions; Air India, another major Indian carrier, also recently placed a substantial order with Airbus. Air India will acquire 40 A350s, including both A350-900 and A350-1000 variants, alongside narrow-body A320neo and A321neo aircraft.

Aviation consulting firm CAPA India views this as a golden opportunity for Indian carriers. They believe “now is the right time for Indian carriers to seek a larger share of the long and ultra-long haul markets.” This growth is projected to be substantial, with CAPA India anticipating the Indian long-haul market to necessitate around 300 widebody aircraft by FY32. They further expect IndiGo to emerge as “a key player in the long and ultra-long haul segments.”

IndiGo’s venture into the long-haul market, combined with Air India’s expanding fleet, is poised to intensify competition on key international routes, ultimately stimulating air travel in India. This strategic expansion by domestic giants IndiGo and Air India aligns perfectly with the Indian government’s vision of establishing India as a global aviation hub by 2030, it said.