Low-cost airline IndiGo will launch flights on the Delhi-Singapore route from September 12 at nearly half the fares offered by full-service competitor Vistara. The move by IndiGo, India’s biggest airline by passengers carried and fleet size, comes two weeks after Vistara launched flights to Singapore from Delhi and Mumbai.
Currently, IndiGo flies to Singapore from Mumbai, Trichy, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. IndiGo’s one-way fares start at Rs 9,999, while Vistara’s economy fares cost around Rs 14,000.
IndiGo is the only low-cost airline that will fly the Delhi-Singapore route.
Besides Vistara, it will compete with Vistara’s parent Singapore Airlines and Air India, both full-service carriers, on this route.
Launching new or additional flights on the same route as competitors is an old tactic of IndiGo to muscle them out. It remains to be seen if this ploy will work on the Singapore route, according to analysts.
The Delhi-Singapore route has traditionally attracted high traffic, aviation analyst Ameya Joshi said. "The seats on this route are still lesser than the peak traffic as (the grounded) Jet Airways use to operate Boeing 777 on this route during peak season and multiple frequencies on 737s. IndiGo will hope to get clearances for ETOPS (extended range operations)," Joshi, a columnist for CNBCTV18.com, said.
While the deployment of A321neos will result in better economics for IndiGo, Vistara is still expected to carry more traffic as it will be able to offer more connecting flights due to its codeshare with Singapore Airlines, Joshi added.
Industry experts are divided on whether the timings of IndiGo flights (see chart) will give it an advantage over competitors. While some say that these flights will be preferred by people who would want to join work the day they land, some call the timings odd and unfavourable.
|Delhi to Singapore|
|Singapore to Delhi|
"Timings may not be that attractive for some tourists as this will require two extra hotel nights for the same number of days for visitors," an industry expert said. He did not want to be named.
IndiGo is optimistic. “Singapore today is not only a tourist hub but also a shopper’s paradise and there is a huge demand on the route. Changi Airport, being the largest transportation hub in Asia, makes this a critical connection for IndiGo," William Boulter, chief commercial officer, IndiGo said.
First Published: IST