IndiGo’s first A321ceo freighter plane is planned to come on time during the first half of 2022 and it will show everyone that the airline is serious about developing its cargo business, the carrier’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) William Boulter has told.
- On April 21, IndiGo had declared that it was in the strategy of leasing four A321ceo freighter aircraft, each having the capacity to handle 27 tonnes of cargo.
- IndiGo airlines, in partnership with Kotak Mahindra Bank, had on December 14 launched a co-branded credit card that permits customers to earn points (6E Rewards) that can be used to buy tickets on its flights. A similar co-branded credit card was launched by the airline, in partnership with HDFC Bank and MasterCard, in February 2020.
Boulter counted, “At the point, our focus is very much on the co-branded (credit card) performances that we have reached to with the banks. We acknowledge that these (cards) provide customers with a lot of advantages.”
Frequent flyer program
A frequent flyer program permits the passenger to make points while booking the tickets of that airline. He or she can then use those points to buy air tickets on the same airline or purchase items or benefits from spouse companies.
“People appear to come back a lot to avail of those low fares. Our focus is very much on co-branded arrangement at the moment,” he told.
6E Rewards (IndiGo’s points system) provides a huge range of potential and capabilities to customers to gain points in a number of their shopping activities, everything from supermarkets to pharmacies to fuel investment, he said.
“We are very sure that our buyers will take that up at a fast rate. We have been very happy with the growth so far of 6E Rewards. I don’t think anything is keeping it back,” Boulter remarked.
Airline’s cargo business, the CCO said
Speaking about the airline’s cargo business, the CCO spoke, “Our cargo business has been one of the successes during the pandemic. We have operated close to 8,000 cargo-in-cabin charter flights.“
Domestically, the carrier was nowadays working in 71 cities in India and each of those points has a cargo capacity, he remarked.
On the topic of the aforementioned four cargo aircraft that have been ordered, he told, "The first aircraft has only moved to Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited as it's being converted (from passenger aircraft to freighter aircraft) as we tell. It will be out sometime in the first half of next year."
“This will be information to everybody that IndiGo is very serious about cargo and that cargo is going to become a significant part of our business,” he added.
When questioned if the airline plans to expand the scope of its order for cargo planes, he answered,” We have ordered four aircraft. We will see how the business develops. We will take further findings after.”
Cargo flights operating between India and China
Boulter told he sees huge potential for cargo flights operating between India and China. “We opened services to China before the pandemic — to Chengdu and Guangzhou. They were very successful in a very short time,” he said.
Now, after the pandemic, the borders (with China) are closed for the passenger traffic but the freight market is very buoyant, he counted.
Several items that were required to fight the pandemic worldwide such as PPE and testing kits were produced in China in large quantities, he said.
“We see a high demand of cargo out of China
We have operated a lot of charters over the last year, into Guangzhou in particular. During the second wave of the pandemic in India, we worked for over 70 charter flights between Kolkata and Guangzhou to bring in oxygen concentrators,” he told.
“So, China will remain a significant manufacturing base. That will generate a lot of cargo demand. As IndiGo, we are happy to serve that demand as far as we can,” he said.
IndiGo is not operating cargo charter flights to China now but it was always in contact with the dealers in that market and there may be charter services in the future, the CCO told.