Full-service carrier Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, on Wednesday said that it has placed a firm order with both US plane maker Boeing and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus worth $3.1 billion, as it plans expansion of its domestic network and to mount medium to long–haul flights on international routes later this year. The order is a mix of aircraft that the airline will own or the firm orders that it will take on its books, and the number that it will be borrowing on operating lease from leasing firms. The firm orders are for 13 A320neos and A321neos with seven more options from the same family and six Boeing 787-9, or Dreamliner, aircraft.
It will be leasing 37 of the Airbus single-aisle aircraft taking the total number of Airbus aircraft it is likely to add to its fleet to 50. It also signed a letter of intent with Boeing for purchase rights of four more 787s, not specifying the variant though (787-9 or 787-10).
Vistara currently has 21 Airbus A320neo and A320ceo aircraft and is an Airbus fleet airline. But this latest order where it adds a new aircraft type to its fleet — the 787-9 (Dreamliner) — for flying on longer international routes, will see this change towards a kind of a mixed fleet airline, a model that its joint venture partner, Singapore-headquartered Singapore Airlines, also follows. At list price (2017), an A320neo comes for $108.4 million, an A321neo at $127million and a 787-9 at $264.6 million.
“We are delighted to further deepen our relationship with Airbus and to join hands with Boeing to strengthen our modern and fuel-efficient fleet that will help achieve our thought-through ambition,” said Leslie Thng, CEO, Vistara. For the Dreamliners it will use GE’s Genx-1B engine.
Of the recent orders that the airlines in India have announced, US plane maker Boeing has clinched the majority with the big Airbus order coming from India’s largest carrier IndiGo in 2015, where it confirmed 250 A320neos for $26.5 billion and an option for converting some of these to A321neos, as it will give it flexibility to fly longer routes with more passengers, an option that it will be exercising now. IndiGo has stated that it will be converting some of these options now. Vistara currently connects 22 destinations with over 800 weekly flights with a market share hovering around 4% for some time now.