IndiGo can wet lease Boeing 777 aircraft from Turkish Airlines for a year following the relaxation of the applicable norm by the civil aviation ministry.
Under the prevailing rule, an Indian carrier can induct an aircraft on a wet lease for three months, subject to a one-time extension of an additional three months. Such leases are permitted in emergency situations only. These include unexpected grounding of planes, among others.
IndiGo, which plans to wet lease three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from Turkish Airlines, had asked the civil aviation ministry to approve a two-year lease instead of just six months. This submission has been partially accepted by the government.
In a wet lease, the lessor provides pilots the and takes care of the aircraft’s maintenance and insurance. The lessor is also responsible for the operational control of the plane during the lease period.
In a statement, IndiGo said it has received a communication conveying the aviation ministry’s permission to Indian carriers to wet lease aircraft for a period of six months, extendable by another six months. Such relaxation shall be available to all Indian carriers on their specific requests and the ministry will consider the same based on the international destinations that the airline intends to operate.
“IndiGo is currently working on finalising the contract for the wet lease,” it said.
Last month, IndiGo announced flights on the Mumbai-Istanbul sector starting January 1. These would be in addition to the Delhi-Istanbul flights that it operates with Airbus A320/321Neo type aircraft.
The Airbus planes have lower payload and range than the Boeing 777. In the past, the airline had to offload baggage or take a technical halt on the Istanbul route due to prevailing wind conditions.
With the wet lease of Boeing 777-300ER planes, seat capacity between India and Turkey will nearly double. It will also benefit Turkish Airlines as its growth in India is limited under the existing bilateral air service agreement.
IndiGo and Turkish Airlines have had a codeshare partnership since 2018. Last week IndiGo announced code share on 19 Turkish Airlines-operated flights to Portugal and Switzerland.
Vinay Malhotra, head of global sales, IndiGo said, “We have witnessed a huge demand for travel from India to Turkey, Switzerland, and Portugal. Keeping the customer demand in mind, we now offer 19 connecting flights through Istanbul to destinations like Geneva, Lisbon, Porto, and Basel. This will not only enhance international connectivity but also add capacity on these routes and make travel more affordable.”