IndiGo, India’s leading airline, is gearing up to court business flyers with the introduction of a premium seating class and a loyalty program, slated for launch by the end of 2024, as reported by the Economic Times (ET). This strategic move aims to enhance the airline’s appeal to business travelers and position itself as a strong competitor to Air India on international routes.
Despite challenges within the aviation industry, IndiGo, commanding a substantial 60% of the domestic market, remains profitable. Now, the airline is setting its sights on becoming a frontrunner in the international market as well.
To accommodate the premium class, IndiGo plans to reconfigure 35 of its Airbus A321 aircraft with a dual-class seating layout by the end of 2024. The premium cabin will boast eight rows of seats, offering passengers an indulgent 36 inches of legroom, a notable increase from the current A321 and A320’s average of 30 inches of legroom with three seats on each side. Pricing details for the premium seats are yet to be disclosed.
Passengers in the premium class can anticipate a range of exclusive benefits, including priority boarding, complimentary hot in-flight meals, and enhanced flexibility for changes to their itineraries.
IndiGo’s CEO, Pieter Elbers, who assumed the role in 2021, has spearheaded the airline’s swift expansion into international routes. The addition of Airbus A321 XLR aircraft to the fleet from 2025 will facilitate longer flights and entry into European markets.
The airline aims to attract high-paying customers who currently opt for competitors like Vistara and Air India due to the absence of a distinct premium product. According to sources familiar with the strategy, IndiGo believes there is a market segment comprising high-end leisure travelers and small business owners seeking a business class experience at fares lower than those charged by legacy airlines.
While this move is poised to capture a new customer base, investors are closely monitoring the development, hoping it won’t disrupt IndiGo’s successful low-cost model. Aviation consultancy firm CAPA has cautioned against overestimating premium traffic and blending low-cost airline strategies, considering it could be a potential strategic error.
Despite these concerns, IndiGo remains committed to expanding its offerings, aiming to secure a larger share of the international market while maintaining its stronghold in the domestic arena.