Dreamliner may help Vistara expand int'l ops to Europe or Far East: Vistara CEO

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Sat, Feb 29th, 2020, 15:05:39hrs
Dreamliner may help Vistara expand int'l ops to Europe or Far East: Vistara CEO

Seattle: With five years of operations under its belt, Tata Group-Singapore Airlines backed passenger carrier Vistara is now looking to double its international ports of call in 2020.

In an interaction post taking delivery of first wide-body Dreamliner 787-9 aircraft at the Boeing facility in Everett, Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said the airline is looking at several international ports to start its long haul operations and the new aircraft may run its first commercial international flight either to Europe or to the far eastern region.


At present, the airline operates to Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok and Colombo and will commence services to Kathmandu. But these routes are serviced by its narrow bodied aircraft.

The Dreamliner 787-9 is the first aircraft to be operated by a domestic airline and is the first wide-body plane in Vistara's fleet. All other 39 planes in its fleet are narrow-body planes such as A320s and B737s.

Standing inside the 787-9 plane at the Boeing's facility, Thng said the Dreamliner would be initially deployed within India on domestic routes for one to two months for the crew to get familiar with the aircraft. It is also required as per the regulations in the country.

"We are looking at a few destinations for our long haul flights. Which destination would become the first depends on the approvals. Work is on to finalise the new destinations," he said.

The delivery of the Dreamliner is the first among the six that Vistara has ordered for delivery between 2020 and 2021. "The second would come to us by the end of next month. This would give us a lot of possibility in trying to fly to at least two destinations," Thng said.

"Europe is one of the places we are looking at in terms of destination. Far East is also an area we are looking at," Thng added.

Vistara on Thursday also announced expansion of its two-way codeshare agreement with Japan Airlines, which allows an airline to sell seats of other airline on its system.

Vistara stated that Japan Airlines will be able to sell tickets on its flights connecting Delhi to 19 Indian cities. On the other hand, the Indian carrier would be able to seek seats on five Japan Airlines flights going out of Tokyo. This could mean that Dreamliner may first run on Delhi-Tokyo route. Later the airline may also aim to start a Delhi-London flight.

Vistara currently has a one-way codeshare partnership with British Airways. Thng said that this will soon be a two-way codeshare partnership.

A wide-body aircraft helps the airline to go long distances that could cover the European, American as well as Far East markets.

Talking about the features of the Dreamliner aircraft, Thng said that seats in the new aircraft will have a TV screen. In business, premium economy and economy classes, the screen is 18 inches, 13 inches and 12 inches, respectively.

Thng also said that the first Dreamliner plane, which has the registration number VT-TSD, would be the first aircraft in India to provide WiFi service.

The Dreamliner has three class configuration with business class, premium economy class and economy class, each having 30 seats, 21 seats and 248 seats, respectively. In total, the aircraft has 299 seats.

Vistara had inaugurated international operations in August 2019 with Singapore as its first destination, followed by Dubai and Bangkok.

Besides destinations, the airline will expand its fleet size to 42 aircraft by March-end, including 787 and 321.

Last year, it placed an order for 50 aircraft from the Airbus A320neo family for the domestic market as well as short and medium-haul international operations, with deliveries scheduled between 2019 and 2023.

(Subhash Narayan can be contacted at subhash.n@ians.in. He is in the US on the invitation of Vistara)