Indian carrier IndiGo plans to add freighters

By Damian Brett

Low-cost carrier IndiGo has revealed plans to bolster its cargo business through the addition of converted freighters.

The airline said it is in the process of sourcing four A321ceo aircraft, each of which will be converted from passenger jets to a full freighter configuration.

A Letter of Intent has been signed with a lessor for two aircraft already, and IndiGo expects to reach agreement for the next two shortly.

IndiGo said the initiative would utilise the same pool of pilots and engineers that fly and service its current fleet.

“The A321P2F (passenger-to-freighter conversion) is the most efficient narrow-bodied freighter available, offering 24 container positions and supporting a payload of up to 27 tonnes,” it said.

The aircraft will be converted through a programme involving ST Engineering and Airbus with their joint venture, Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW).

IndiGo is expected to take the delivery of its first freighter in the first half of 2022, which will be used for both domestic and regional operations.

“The remaining three aircraft in the initial commitment are expected to arrive within a year or so from arrival of our first freighter, and further aircraft may be sourced depending on market development,” the carrier said.

Ronojoy Dutta, chief executive and whole time director, IndiGo said: “CarGo has been a success story over the last year, scaling new heights and creating new records, but our belief in the cargo business goes beyond the special circumstances right now.

“IndiGo was already the largest carrier of cargo in domestic India before Covid-19, and we expect the market to continue to grow after the pandemic.

“Our investment in the Airbus Freighter Programme will help strengthen our product and services in the segment,and not only help accelerate our own business recovery but also be a strong engine of economic growth for the country.”

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