Budget carrier IndiGo is likely to induct its first long range jet A321neo (new engine option) in its fleet Saturday, after a delay of almost one month, which will pave the way for the airline to launch its much-awaited medium-haul international operations, a source said Tuesday.
The Gurugram-based largest domestic carrier by market share currently has shorter-range A320neos in its fleet of 200-odd planes, which also has A320s and ATR jets.
"IndiGo's first A321neo plane, which was to join the fleet late last month, will now be finally inducted on December 29," an airline source said.
The delivery of the new jet will help IndiGo introduce flights on the medium-haul routes.
Flights of up to six hours duration come under medium-long haul category of operations.
Queries sent to IndiGo did not elicit a response.
The airline has already announced its plans to launch services to Istanbul and has also signed a code-share pact with Turkish Airlines for seamless connectivity to 20 global destinations for its passengers from Istanbul and onwards.
In turn, passengers of the Turkish national carrier will have access to all destinations operated by IndiGo within India.
This will be the first of the IndiGo's150 A321neos on order with the European aviation major Airbus.
As per the Airbus order book (till November), it has already delivered 59 A320neos of the total 280 on order to the airline.
The airline, in two tranches, placed order for 430 A320neos (180 in 2011 and 250 in 2015) with Airbus. Later, it converted 150 of these planes to A321neos.
IndiGo at present operates over 1,300 daily flights to 52 domestic and 15 international destinations.
Besides Istanbul, the budget carrier also reportedly plans to launch services to Gatwick (London), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Yangon (Myanmar) as part of its international network expansion plans.
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