India’s budget air carrier IndiGo has received its first Airbus A321 Neo Aircraft, making it the first domestic airline to own a longer-range plane. The new aircraft will help IndiGo to accommodate travel services to medium-haul international destinations involving flights of up to six hours duration.
IndiGo purchased Airbus A321 Neo Aircraft from European aviation major Airbus. The aircraft was initially scheduled to launch on November 29 but got delayed for reasons unknown. The first aircraft VT-IUA landed at 9.06 am at Terminal III of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, and it was welcomed with the traditional water cannon salute.
The new addition takes the total airplane count of IndiGo to 204 planes, including one A321 Neo, 65 A320 Neos, 126 A320 Ceos (current engine option), and 12 ATRs.
Airbus A321 Neo Aircraft claims to have more fuel efficiency and higher seating capacity. IndiGo has already announced its plans to deliver services to Istanbul and has entered a code-share agreement with Turkish Airlines enabling it to have connectivity to 20 global destinations from Istanbul and onwards. Turkish Airlines, in turn, gets access to services within Indian terrain.
Airbus A321 Neo Aircraft is powered with Pratt & Whitney engines (P&W engines), which are known for technical glitches mid-air. P&W engines fitted in A320 Neo aircraft have reported many issues, especially combustion chamber-related snags. Recently, an IndiGo flight from Jaipur to Kolkata with 136 passengers onboard got filled with smoke in the cabin. The incident forced the airline to make an emergency landing. It is unsure if such glitches will reappear in IndiGo’s new Airbus A321 Neo Aircraft.
IndiGo is worst-performing carrier for consumers
In another development, Mr. Derek O’ Brien who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture revealed that IndiGo is the ‘worst-performing’ carrier for consumers. Based on the panel’s latest report, he said all 30 members of the panel agree on this. O’ Brien blamed IndiGo for not responding to complaints, the way the airline behaves with consumers, and the extra charges the airline levy for one/two kilograms overweight of baggage. He added that the committee is looking into the matter seriously.
IndiGo already operates more than 1300 daily flights, servicing to 52 domestic and 15 international destinations. The count is expected to increase soon with the new routes.