Code Indigo to fly high
India’s largest airline IndiGo, owned and operated by InterGlobe Aviation, has announced a one-way code-share deal with Qatar Airways. This is the second such agreement that IndiGo has struck, the other being with Turkish Airlines, which is a two-way deal. A code-share pact typically allows its participant carriers to sell seats on one another’s flights to provide their customers with a wider choice of flight times and destinations. In this case, Qatar Airways will place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Doha will serve as a hub for onward flights to its entire network of destinations. The arrangement comes into effect immediately.
IndiGo has been able to expand its domestic market share to nearly 50% after the collapse of Jet Airways in April. It is now keen on expanding its overseas footprint, and the code-share deal would help it tap the country’s rising transfer passenger traffic. The airline recently placed an order for 300 Airbus planes worth some $33 billion to replace old aircraft. The strategic partnership comes at a time when IndiGo’s co-founders are engaged in a feud over the company’s corporate governance.
The alliance also assumes significance in the context of the state-owned Air India being put on the block, since some observers expect the two airlines to bid jointly for it. Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker, however, sought to quash speculation that the Doha-based carrier is interested in buying a stake in Air India, saying he would much rather acquire a chunk of IndiGo’s equity.