IndiGo has placed its first ever aircraft order with ATR as it bids to enter the Indian regional market.
The low-cost carrier has agreed to purchase 50 ATR 72-600 aircraft in a deal valued at over US$1.3 billion at current list prices. The aircraft, which will be IndiGo’s first turboprops, are expected to enter service by the end of 2017.
“We are embarking on a journey to build a nationwide regional network and connect cities that have not benefitted from the growth in Indian aviation,” explained Aditya Ghosh, president of IndiGo. “The ATRs low operating costs will help us build a large regional air travel network with reasonable fares.
“The ATR’s outstanding operational versatility, along with their capabilities to land in remote airports with limited infrastructure will help us manage our operations efficiently,” he added.
IndiGo’s entry into the regional market is in line with the UDAN, the Indian government’s scheme to connect more remote parts of the country, with the aim of boosting economic development, employment and tourism. Under this programme, 100 new airports will be created within the next 2-3 years and airlines will receive financial support and other incentives to launch flights to the new regional hubs.
The ATR 72-600 aircraft is able to carry up to 78 passengers on routes up to 1,665km. Other operators of the aircraft include Air New Zealand, Bangkok Airways, Cebu Pacific, Fiji Airways and Garuda Indonesia.
IndiGo, which is India’s largest domestic airline by market share, currently operates a large all-Airbus fleet of A320s and A320neos.