IndiGo, India's biggest airline, aims to double its capacity by the end of the decade by expanding its network in the country and flying to new international destinations, its chief executive officer told analysts on Thursday.
Air travel has recovered strongly from the impact of COVID-19, although global supply chain disruptions continue to delay the delivery of aircraft and components, and the financial problems of some airlines have raised concerns of possible cost increases.
IndiGo's next phase of growth will involve "combining our very strong Indian foundations with our international aspirations," Pieter Elbers told analysts in a call after the airline reported its second consecutive quarterly profit.
The budget carrier has over 300 aircraft, mainly the Airbus' A320 family of planes, which it uses to serve 78 domestic and 26 international destinations.
It has another 500 planes on order that have yet to be delivered, Elbers said. It is also in talks on a new order of over 500 planes, Reuters has reported.
IndiGo's expansion comes as smaller rival Go First files for bankruptcy this month and budget carrier SpiceJet is under pressure from lessors over non-payment of dues.
SpiceJet has said it has no plans to file for insolvency and was grateful for the support it had had from its lessors.
Go First's bankruptcy has caused nervousness among the international lessor community, with some saying that the increase in risk will raise leasing costs for all Indian airlines.
IndiGo's Chief Financial Officer Gaurav Negi said the airline does not face increased lease costs as it has a "strong relationship" with its lessors.
Go First has blamed engine maker Pratt & Whitney's engines for the grounding of about half its fleet and eventual bankruptcy. Pratt, part of Raytheon Technologies, said the claims were without evidence.
Several of IndiGo's planes also have Pratt & Whitney engines and it had to ground over 35 aircraft due to a lack of spare engines, Elbers said, adding he did not expect the situation to worsen.
Earlier on Thursday IndiGo reported earnings of 9.16 billion rupees ($112 million), helped by a 2.53 billion rupees boost from forex gains. Its yield, a metric for profitability, rose 10.2% year-over-year to 4.85 rupees per kilometre in the January to March quarter.
IndiGo's shares closed down 1.6% on Thursday, having reversed course after hitting a one-and-a-half year high. They have gained just under 13% this year, while SpiceJet has fallen about 18%.