India's largest low-cost carrier IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l) is planning to tap into the cargo market with the addition of at least five P2F-converted A321-200(P2F)s, sources told Indian daily Business Standard.

The carrier is already in talks with Airbus regarding the potential order. IndiGo reportedly treated the initial batch of five aircraft as a test for the market and could potentially add a larger number of dedicated freighters.

According to sources, the airline could take delivery of its first A321-200Fs in early 2022, taking into consideration the current backlog for conversions. The carrier would reportedly use them to connect India to China and destinations in western Asia - presumably the Gulf countries.

IndiGo did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.

The LCC currently operates ninety-four A320-200s, 120 A321-200s, and thirty-three A321-200NXs, as well as twenty-five ATR72-600s. With a fleet of 247 Airbus narrowbodies, it is the world's fourth-largest operator of the A320/A320neo Family jets, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. It has a further 212 A320-200Ns and 365 A321-200NXs on firm order from the manufacturer, making it by far the world's largest customer for the A320neo Family.

The potential addition of A321-200Fs would allow IndiGo Airlines to compete with rival LCC SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l), for which the cargo market was an important segment even before the pandemic. The airline's freighter fleet, excluding makeshift freighters, comprises three B737-700(BDSF)s and two B737-800(BCF)s. Fellow rival LCC GoAir does not operate any freighters.