As reported by the Economic Times, sources familiar with the matter reveal that IndiGo’s initiative is a strategic move aimed at drawing in more business travelers and enhancing competition with Air India (AI), particularly on international routes.
IndiGo Premium Seats and Loyalty Program
The airline intends to reconfigure 35 Airbus A321 aircraft, introducing a dual-class setup with a premium cabin with eight rows of seats arranged in pairs.
Installed in these aircraft will be eight rows of extra legroom seating, providing guests with a spacious 36 inches of legroom for comfortable stretching or work, according to an anonymous source cited by the ET. Presently, IndiGo’s Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft offer an average seat pitch of 30 inches.
The airline has not yet determined the additional charges for these premium seats, but customers choosing them can anticipate benefits such as priority boarding, complimentary in-flight meals, and increased flexibility for itinerary changes.
While IndiGo’s current no-frills model, characterized by dense cabin seating and supplementary charges for food, priority boarding, and seat allocation, has proven successful domestically, securing a 60% market share, the airline is now under the leadership of CEO Pieter Elbers, who joined from Air France-KLM in 2021, and director Greg Sarestky.
They are focusing on expanding their dominance to international routes. This expansion includes the introduction of longer flights using Airbus A321 XLR aircraft from 2025, targeting European markets with flight times exceeding seven hours.
As reported by the ET, these planes will also feature business class seats and increased legroom in economy class.
Attracting Business and Leisure Travelers
Elbers had previously mentioned considering dual-class seating but confirmed that no final decision has been made.
He stated, “The speed of market development is so fast, and we have kept all options open. A lot of startups and new companies are being founded in India, and they will all go international. All that requires travel and, at one point, need a different class of travel.”
A source familiar with the strategy informed the ET that introducing a premium section would enable IndiGo to attract high-yield customers who currently choose competitors like Air India (AI) and Vistara (UK).
The airline aims to provide a business-class product at lower fares than traditional airlines, leveraging its advantage of lower unit costs. Investors are cautiously observing this shift, hoping it won’t compromise IndiGo’s successful low-cost model.
The aviation consultancy firm CAPA warned against overestimating premium traffic, which could lead to strategic errors in transitioning from a low-cost to a hybrid airline model.
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