LONDON — Indian low-cost carrier (LCC) GoAir signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 72 A320neo aircraft Tuesday at the Farnborough Airshow. The MoU when confirmed will double Go Air’s planned A320neo fleet to 144 frames, all of which will be delivered before 2020.
The carrier has already taken delivery of two A320neo frames this past June, becoming the third airline in the world (albeit the second in India after rival LCC IndiGo) to operate the type.
GoAir, whose A320neos seat 186 passengers in a two-class configuration, also operates 19 Airbus A320ceos that seat 180 passengers. In fact, GoAir was the launch customer for Airbus’ Spaceflex configuration for the A320neo.
Mumbai-based GoAir is a subsidiary of the 280-year old Wadia Group, one of india’s foremost conglomerates. Its primary base is at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport from which it offers service to 18 domestic destinations (out of 22 for the company as a whole).
The airline also operates a secondary hub at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which has nearly as many routes (17) but at a lower frequency.
GoAir CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer noted that the A320neo was key to the carriers’s growth ambitions, building on its present successes: “The [A320]neo is the best aircraft we can use to grow…We have been consistently profitable in the Indian industry… We have a fantastic product and established ourselves as the best brand in India… [and] [t]he market in India is growing: 20% last year. It is the fastest growing market in the world!”
GoAir’s expanded order is in part due to a recent liberalization of India’s civil aviation policy by the Modi government, in particular, by abolishing age of airline requirements to fly international services.
“We have been allotted 7 countries rights out of India,” Prock-Schauer noted. “But our main market will remain India. And 1/3 of these neos will be flying international routes and connect within India. We have the right product. With the Indian charm and hospitality, we’ll achieve our goals.”