The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed IndiGo to lease wide-body Boeing aircraft from Turkish Airlines for up to six months and the domestic carrier’s request to lease the aircraft for up to two years, according to sources. has been rejected.
The aviation regulator has turned down the country’s largest airline’s request to wet the aircraft for a longer period, saying the move could lead to a diversion of traffic rights in collusion with a strong foreign carrier that mainly Will feed the latter hub abroad with more passengers. From India, sources said.
IndiGo, which currently has only narrow-body aircraft in its fleet, decided to lease wide-body aircraft to operate more flights on international routes to meet the growing demand.
Currently, there are also supply issues from engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney and CFM, resulting in grounding of several Airbus A320 aircraft from IndiGo and GoFirst.
Sources said the DGCA has allowed IndiGo to vet wide-body aircraft from Turkish Airlines for three months and this period may be extended by another three months.
The watchdog has rejected the request of the domestic airline to give the aircraft on wet lease for up to two years.
There was no immediate comment from IndiGo.
IndiGo sources said the airline has written to the civil aviation ministry seeking an extended tenure for the aircraft that will be taken on wet lease.
Generally, wet leasing of aircraft is permitted for short duration to overcome supply constraints and ensure that airfares do not increase significantly.
Under the wet lease arrangement, the aircraft are leased along with the operating crew and engineers.
On October 12, PTI reported that IndiGo will soon lease four wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft to meet the shortfall in its international operations.
According to sources, weight leasing of an aircraft essentially means that an Indian airline is issuing tickets only for the aircraft being operated by the carrier from which the planes are taken.
Also, the entire operating crew and engineers will be from the foreign airline concerned. Sources said the DGCA does not have adequate security oversight on aircraft operating under the wet lease arrangement.
At present, bilateral relations between India and Turkey offer only two flights per day operated by airlines from both sides.
IndiGo has a fleet of over 275 aircraft and flies to 26 international destinations. It is also the country’s largest domestic airline with a market share of 57.7 per cent in September.
The government is also considering a mega aviation hub in India and is encouraging domestic airlines to have wide-body planes in their fleet.