The airline is not done expanding internationally.
While Vistara has decided not to place any new aircraft orders due to its upcoming merger with Air India, it still has a few pending deliveries. The airline continues to add new routes to its network – at a recent route launch event, its CEO said that Vistara plans to add even more overseas routes in the coming months as its fleet size increases with the new planes.
New overseas routes
Vistara recently celebrated its inaugural flight between New Delhi and Hong Kong. The airline will fly daily on this route using its Airbus A321neo aircraft, and at an event in Hong Kong to mark this occasion, Vistara’s Chief Executive Officer, Vinod Kannan, gave further updates on its international ambitions.
According to Bloomberg, Kannan said that, even as Vistara’s stint as a standalone airline is approaching its end, it will continue to add more international routes in the coming months. He also added that new aircraft to be delivered in the near future will primarily be used for international services. Bloomberg quotes Kannan as saying,
“We will continue to expand internationally and we feel that demand will continue to grow. There will be two or three more new routes coming through in the first quarter of next year.”
Vistara’s international flights seem to be doing well. Kannan was happy that the inaugural flight to Hong Kong was more than 90% full and that demand for November also looks strong. The Delhi-Hong Kong service is one of many international flights started or announced by the carrier over the last few months.
In December, Vistara will become the only airline to offer non-stop flights between Delhi and Bali using its new Airbus A321LR aircraft, and it will also soon launch a flight between Mumbai and Frankfurt, adding to its existing Delhi-Frankfurt service. It also recently started service between Delhi and the Maldives.
Mumbai, in particular, has seen much love from the airline when it comes to international operations. It now flies to several global locations from Mumbai, including Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Colombo, Dammam, Dhaka, Dubai, Jeddah, London Heathrow, Male, Mauritius, Muscat, and Singapore.
Vistara currently has five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in its fleet, one of them on lease. It initially ordered six of these planes from Boeing, and their gradual induction has allowed the airline to increase its operations in Europe, including increasing frequencies on the Delhi-Frankfurt and Delhi-Paris routes and starting a new Mumbai-London flight.
Merger with Air India
Vistara’s merger with Air India is currently underway. But until the deal is inked officially, both airlines will continue to operate as separate entities. Vistara started operations in January 2015. Since then, its fleet has expanded to 63 airplanes, and it is currently the number two airline by domestic market share. By the end of this year, Vistara’s international flights will account for nearly 40% of its operations.
While the Vistara brand will cease to exist following its merger with Air India, its operating procedures will likely be applied to Air India. Already, the two airlines are working on employee integration, and the Tata Group is working to ensure that the new Air India can be brought up to the same standard as Vistara.