IndiGo, India’s largest airline by passenger numbers and fleet size, plans to order as many as 50 A330 wide-body jets in a deal that would be worth $13 billion. The purchase would pave way for the carrier’s expansion into low-cost long-haul flights.

IndiGo’s plans have not yet been made public, but according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the low-cost carrier aims to take the upgraded A330neo version, Bloomberg reported on March 8, 2018.

This comes as the carrier is developing plans for long-distance flights while building up a fleet of more than 150 A320 narrow-body aircraft operated in the region.

If the carrier were to buy the jets – in a deal worth $13 billion at list prices for the smaller of two variants – it would be a boost for the A330 upgrade.

No official statement has yet been released by IndiGo, a brand of InterGlobe Aviation, but sources say an announcement for the order could come as early as June 2018. Airbus has reportedly also declined to comment, Bloomberg writes.

IndiGo’s plans to expand beyond short-haul flights are reasonable since the country is set to become the world's third largest aviation market by 2020.

According to Airbus latest India Market Forecast, India will require 1,750 new passenger and cargo aircraft over the next 20 years to meet an exponential rise in both passenger and freight traffic.

To meet this growth, Airbus says, the country will need 1,320 new single-aisle aircraft and 430 wide-body aircraft valued at $255 billion.

"Airbus has the largest footprint in India of any International aircraft manufacturer, nationwide across all aircraft programs,” said Srinivasan Dwarakanath, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft in India, adding that “Our sourcing volume has grown 16 times over the past 10 years and it is currently at more than $550 million annually," The Business Standard reported on March 9, 2018.