IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l) is looking to enter the longhaul, low-cost market next winter with flights to Europe and the Far East, sources familiar with the LCC's operations have told India's Business Standard newspaper.

According to the report, IndiGo has sought regulatory approval to start service from Delhi Int'l to each of London, Paris, Madrid Barajas, and Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok using A330 equipment.

It is also exploring the possibility of offering onward services to unspecified points in Europe and North America, the report added.

IndiGo declined to comment on the report.

In November last year, India's Economic Times reported the carrier was in talks with Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) over a possible order for at least fifty widebody jets.

The purchase and today's disclosure lends further credence to reports suggesting IndiGo parent InterGlobe Aviation may have cooled on acquiring Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) for its longhaul network.

“We remain interested in acquiring the international operations of Air India, but as we have said previously, we will explore the long-haul opportunity with or without Air India,” IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said in an earnings call last week.

IndiGo's venture into the longhaul segment would be India's first by a budget carrier. Rival SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) considered leasing two B787-8s for use in starting such flights during the current winter season only to abandon them citing high costs. However, CEO Ajay Singh has remained optmistic SpiceJet will eventually offer long-haul flights telling The Economic Times in Davos last week that he expected intercontinental service to start within the next 12-24 months.