According to norms, pilots carry 45 minutes of reserve fuel in order to fly to an alternative airport in case of emergency.
Flights sometimes take unusual routes to avoid this, or a take a fuel stop to fly for extra time. In fact, during the airspace closure by Pakistan, IndiGo
was taking a fuel stop at Doha. The opposite happens when the aircraft flies from west to east, with IndiGo’s return flight from Istanbul-Delhi, which used to take six hours, now taking five and half hours.
In fact, most pilots are trained to reduce airspeed when winds move to their advantage. This is with the intent of saving fuel costs, not for reducing travel time.
In order to compensate for the extra fuel that the airline failed to forecast, it was leaving behind luggage of passengers, leading to massive inconvenience. Given this flight operates on a code share with Turkish Airlines to 13 European destinations, passengers reaching their final destinations were shocked to find their luggage was still left at Delhi.
The halt, which has caused delays and inconvenience to passengers in recent weeks, is partly the result of IndiGo
using narrow-body jets such as Airbus A320 and A321 on longer routes. IndiGo’s strategy works when winds are calm, which allows the airline to operate less expensive aircraft with fewer cabin-crew members, thus easily filling the plane and lowering the operating cost.
However, by pushing its narrow-body jets close to the limit of seven hours, IndiGo is leaving little room for error when stiff winds increase the amount of fuel that the planes’ twin engines burn.
“We are now stranded with family (old and kids) in a different country with no luggage,” tweeted a passenger, who travelled to Amsterdam.
An airline spokesperson said they had already imposed certain payload restrictions and would be taking more. He added that there are two daily flights to Istanbul, as well as a code share with Turkish airlines that would enable them to accommodate passengers who were booked but made to be offloaded.
In addition, the airline is offering a voucher of Rs 5,000 to affected passengers that can be encashed for future travels.