IndiGo, India's most profitable airline, is reportedly planning to start operating flights on the New Delhi-Doha route this year, which could take the number of international destinations covered by the airline to six.
However, the exact date of launch is yet to be finalised by the airline even though it has already obtained slots at the Doha airport.
The service will not be started by the airline any time soon, as its share in the domestic aviation market expands fast, a senior executive of IndiGo told Business Standard, confirming plans to run flights to Doha.
The addition of Doha to IndiGo's international destinations is interesting, given the underutilisation of traffic rights to Qatar by domestic airlines. Air India Express and Jet Airways are the only two carriers currently operating flights to Doha.
"Delivery of Airbus A320neo has been delayed and IndiGo may be waiting for a revised delivery schedule before taking a decision regarding the Doha flight. Doha is well connected from cities in South India, and so a Delhi-Doha flight makes sense," said an aviation analyst.
On the other hand, Qatar Airways is running to 13 destinations in India and is seeking to operate more. In May, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker had evinced interest in acquiring 49% stake in IndiGo, but had not confirmed any talks. He had then said: "IndiGo's owners had no immediate plans to sell".
InterGlobe Aviation, the owner of IndiGo, posted a net profit of Rs 1,295.58 crore for the financial year ending March 2015, up 173% compared to Rs 474.44 crore in the previous year. In 2012-13, it registered a profit of Rs 987.3 crore.