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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Budget Airline to Fly in India

NEW DELHI -- A new Indian budget airline announced Monday that its first plane would take to the skies on Aug. 4, cashing in on the country's aviation boom.

IndiGo will offer low-cost air travel, focusing on routes that have been ignored by existing budget carriers, said Bruce Ashby, president and chief executive.

Budget airlines hit the Indian skies two years ago starting with Air Deccan, an airline launched by former pilots of India's state-owned carrier, Indian Airlines. About a half-dozen low-cost carriers have since entered the market, but their routes remain largely limited to major cities such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Madras.

The availability of low-cost airlines coupled with rising middle-class incomes have led to a surge in air travel in India. While domestic passenger traffic is growing 25 percent annually, the pace is faster in smaller cities. IndiGo's service will begin on Aug. 4 with a flight from New Delhi to Gauhati, the main city in India's northeast, and then on to Imphal, close to the Myanmar border.

One-way fares between New Delhi and Gauhati -- a distance of about 1,500 kilometers -- start at 2,549 rupees (US$55), the carrier said. By 2010, the airline aims to service 30 Indian cities with 40 Airbus A320s. Earlier this year, IndiGo placed a firm order with Airbus to buy 100 aircraft over the next 10 years.