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Vistara aims to have 50% flights on overseas routes in 5 years

Vistara currently has a fleet of 30 planes including 7 Boeing 737s that were earlier operated by grounded airline Jet Airways.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 07, 2019, 02.32 PM IST
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Vistara plans to add about 60 planes, including 10 Dreamliners in the next five years through a mix of direct orders, leases and options.
SINGAPORE: Vistara aims to deploy 50% of its capacity to international routes in the next five years as it gears up for flights to Europe next year and the US and Australia in the next few years, said its CEO.

The airline started its maiden international flight to from Delhi to Singapore on Tuesday. It will start flying from Mumbai to Singapore on Wednesday, Mumbai to Dubai from August 21 and Delhi to Bangkok from August 27.

“We want to start flights to Europe as soon as possible,” Leslie Thing told reporters Wednesday. He said the airline would look at London’s constrained Heathrow airport and at a later stage or “phase two” of its growth plans, direct flights to Austalia and the US.

Vistara currently has a fleet of 30 planes including 7 Boeing 737s that were earlier operated by grounded airline Jet Airways. It will press two more 737s into service this month. It has taken them on lease for periods between 1 and 4 years, said Thng. It operated its maiden international flight with a 737 plane. The arrival and departure slots it has received to operate Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok also belonged to Jet Airways. The Singapore flights will be operated by Airbus A320s from October, said Thng. It plans to shortly start flights to the Colombo and Kathmandu.

These and several overseas and domestic slots have been allocated to Vistara and its peers “on a temporary basis” as Jet undergoes bankruptcy proceedings directed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Thng said Vistara has requested the government to let it continue using the slots, irrespective of whether Jet is revived by a new investor.

Thng said Vistara is looking to form an expansive codeshare programme and aims to connect to 44 destinations in 10 countries via agreements with its parent Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary SilkAir. The airline is a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons. A codeshare agreement is when a passenger can use one airline’s flight code to fly on another, thereby gaining access to a wider network than the airline has.

Thng said Vistara’s own expansion plans would be closely linked to its codeshare programmes. For instance, it would aim to partner with European carriers to give its passengers access to destinations adjacent to the ones it aims to fly to. Vistara would also closely look at Japan with which India has an open skies agreement which allows carriers from each country to operate as many India-Japan flights as they want.

Currently the solely operating private full service carrier in the country, Vistara operates 1,200 flights a week to 25 cities, including Singapore. Its fleetsize will grow to 42 by the end of FY20 and include two widebodied 787 Dreamliner planes which will likely be deployed to Europe.

Vistara plans to add about 60 planes, including 10 Dreamliners in the next five years through a mix of direct orders, leases and options. The rest will be Airbus A320neos and A321neos.

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