IndiGo to buy more ATR planes as it spreads its wings

Low-cost carrier IndiGo – India's largest airline by market share – is in the process of buying new aircraft as it embarks on its plan to start routes connecting small towns to each other.

IndiGo is in discussions with the French-Italian manufacturer ATR Aircraft for acquiring small turbo-prop planes for the purpose. It may sign a deal with ATR for up to 50 aircraft sometime soon.

Through aggressive capacity addition, IndiGo became the leader among private Indian airlines last year, displacing long-time leader Jet Airlines.

IndiGo currently has a fleet of 61 Airbus A-320 planes.

The proposed acquisition could facilitate the launch of more regional flights, which the civil aviation ministry is keen to promote. The trouble however lies in the fact that the government is not prepared to freely allow airlines to buy aircraft for the purpose.

IndiGo is already in a spat with the aviation minister for allowing it to import only five instead of 16 Airbus A-320 aircraft, which form a part of the original understanding for 100 aircraft for which it already has in-principle approval.

The last meeting of the aircraft acquisition committee, which took place on Monday, reiterated its recommendation to of allow IndiGo to import four more, but the final approval needs to come from civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.