By Taylor Rains
IndiGo, SpiceJet Bolster Domestic Networks
This week, IndiGo announced the addition of seven new domestic routes. The routes are part of the country’s UDAN “Regional Connectivity Scheme” that seeks to better connect India and make air travel affordable and expansive. The goal is “letting the common citizen of the country fly,” and Indian airlines are working to make that happen.
Low-cost carrier IndiGo, India’s largest airline by passenger traffic and fleet size, has launched seven new routes in the country. All of the routes are available for purchase and are currently in operation.
IndiGo has fitted its schedule with four new daily flights:
- Allahabad to Bhopal: once-daily flight departing at 11:20 AM and landing at 12:55 PM
- Bhubaneswar to Allahabad: once-daily flight departing at 7:50 AM and landing at 10:05 AM
- Bhubaneswar to Varanasi: once-daily flight departing at 2:55 PM and landing at 4:55 PM
- Dibrugarh to Dimapur: once-daily flight departing at 7:30 AM and landing at 8:45 AM
The airline has also included three flights running throughout the week:
- Shillong to Agartala: operates 3x-weekly on Thursdays, Saturdays and Tuesdays, departing at 10:20 AM and landing at 11:20 AM
- Shillong to Silchar: operates 3x-weekly on Wednesday, Fridays and Mondays, departing at 10:20 AM and landing at 11:00 AM
- Rajahmundry to Visakhapatnam: operates 5x-weekly on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays, departing at 5:40 PM and landing at 6:35 PM
The flights will connect several states within India for rates starting as low as 1,299 Indian Rupees ($18 USD) one-way between Dibrugarh and Dimapur. The highest published fare is 3,721 Indian Rupee ($51) between Bhubaneswar and Allahabad. It does appear that the service between Bhubaneswar and Varanasi is seasonal, dropping off IndiGo’s schedule on May 1.
Sanjay Kumar, the company’s chief strategy and revenue officer, said, “These new domestic flights will strengthen regional connectivity and promote trade, commerce, as well as tourism through increased accessibility. The introduction of these new routes will further bolster the airline’s domestic network, while augmenting inter and intra-regional accessibility.”
IndiGo isn’t the only Indian low-cost carrier to expand its domestic route network. SpiceJet, the country’s second-largest airline by passenger traffic, has added 66 new flights as regional demand skyrockets. The company’s vision is also in line with the government’s UDAN regional connectivity scheme as they seek to serve major tourist destinations from small cities.
An airline spokesperson said, “To support the increasing travel demand from smaller cities which were initially connected by SpiceJet under UDAN, the airline has introduced new flights connecting Darbhanga, Durgapur, Jharsuguda, Gwalior, and Nashik with some key metro cities. The airline will launch new flights on the sectors of Ahmedabad-Darbhanga-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad-Darbhanga-Hyderabad, Pune-Darbhanga-Pune, and Kolkata-Darbhanga-Kolkata after connecting Darbhanga with Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru earlier. ”
He also explained, “As the country’s largest regional operator, the new flights further reiterate our commitment towards enhancing regional connectivity, besides offering unique connections to many leisure destinations. We are committed to providing all our valued travellers easy, safe, and secure travel to their favourite destinations.”
Since the pandemic disrupted the airline industry, India has been slowly re-opening domestic travel. Today, Indian airlines are permitted to operate at 80% of their capacity. Since September 2020, regional travel has increased by over 63%, transporting nearly 46 million passengers.