Building on previous success of its cargo business, IndiGo announced a freighter programme and is in the process of sourcing four A321ceo aircraft for cargo conversion.
“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. The initiative will make best use of the natural synergies that IndiGo offers, using the same pool of pilots and engineers that fly and service its current fleet,” the airline said in a statement.
It did not disclose the lessor or whether the four aircraft being sourced are 2 orders and 2 options. It did say that it finds A321P2F (passenger-to-freighter conversion) the most efficient narrow-bodied freighter available.
The freighter conversion, which offers 24 container positions and support a payload of up to 27 tonnes, is currently under a programme between ST Engineering, Airbus and joint venture, Elbe FlugzeugWerke (EFW). The first A321 freighter converted by EFW entered service with Qantas for Australia Post in October last year.
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IndiGo expects to take delivery of its first freighter in the first half of 2022 and will used the aircraft for both domestic and regional flights. The remaining three aircraft in the initial commitment are expected to arrive within a year or so from arrival of the first, and further aircraft may be sourced depending on market development.
“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,” said Mr. Ronojoy Dutta, chief executive and wholetime director at IndiGo.
“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,” he added.