IndiGo to launch business class on busiest routes by year-end

IndiGo, India’s largest airline, announced plans Thursday to introduce a business class cabin on its busiest domestic routes before the end of 2024, marking a strategic shift for the carrier long known for its affordable, single-class service.

The new premium product will initially roll out on IndiGo’s highest-demand routes and those popular with business travelers, the airline said, though specific routes were not disclosed. More details, including the product offering and launch date, will be unveiled around IndiGo’s 18th anniversary in August.

“Considering India’s soaring economy and the evolving aspirations of Indian society, it’s time for IndiGo to redefine premium travel in India,” the airline said in a statement reported by Reuters.

IndiGo’s CEO Pieter Elbers framed the business class foray as part of the airline’s broader strategy, following its orders for long-range Airbus jets and plans to expand internationally.

Industry watchers view IndiGo’s premium cabin push as a direct response to intensifying competition from India’s Tata Group full-service carriers Air India and Vistara. Those airlines already offer business class, luring lucrative corporate travelers.

Data from aviation analytics firm Cirium highlights the market gap: There are currently 7,032 weekly business class seats in India, far below the 15,564 offered when Jet Airways operated prior to its 2019 grounding.

“IndiGo is trying to fill up the void left by Jet Airways,” wrote Ameya Joshi, an aviation analyst at The Hindustan Times. He noted IndiGo’s moves align with its recent loyalty program plans and widebody jet orders for long-haul routes.

While introducing a premium cabin marks a pivot for the ultra-low-cost model IndiGo pioneered, the airline’s growing scale affords maneuverability, Joshi assessed: “With the kind of profits it is clocking, it has the room to try out things.”

Industry experts will watch closely how IndiGo prices and configures its new business class product. Regardless, the move further intensifies competition in India’s booming air travel market.

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