IndiGo Switching Over to ATRs on B’luru-Mluru route Will Affect Passenger & Cargo Operations
Mangaluru: The powder metal issue has hit IndiGo flights operating on the Mangaluru-Bengaluru sector. From Jan 18, the flight carrier operated ATRs instead of Airbus A320 and A321 flights, said sources. Of the seven flights that operate on the MangaluruBengaluru route, IndiGo operates five and two flights are operated by Air India Express which uses Boeing 737 Max. IndiGo is operating only one Airbus A320 in the morning while the rest have been replaced with ATRs.
“The replacement of narrow-bodied aircraft with ATR will affect passenger and cargo operations. It is likely to get normalised in March 2024. The Air Carrier had grounded several flights due to powder metal issues since Nov, and now the Mangaluru-Bengaluru sector is hit,” a source from Mangaluru International Airport said. Based on available data, a total of 53,819 passengers flew in this sector in Nov last year, averaging approximately 1,790 passengers per day.
A Senior executive from IndiGo confirmed that ATRs have indeed been deployed on the route, and these aircraft have both limited seating capacity and cargo belly space. “The demand for this sector is notably high, second only to Mumbai. The passenger load on flights consistently ranges from 80% to 90%, even on regular days. Also, the impact on cargo services will be significant, with our flights collectively carrying close to 300 tons per month.
“This cargo primarily comprises mail from various stakeholders, particularly from the post office, and it constitutes the majority of the outbound cargo. ATRs will result in a reduced cargo capacity of 100 kg per day. This stands as a financial setback for the airline and poses an inconvenience to passengers due to the limited seating available in the sector. If the seating capacity in ATRs is 78, an A320 aircraft can accommodate up to 180 passengers,” an executive from the Airline said. However, Insiders feel the shortage of seats could lead to a fare hike.