Vistara says impact from international flight approval delays manageable

By: | Updated: February 13, 2019 3:42 PM

Vistara will complete five years of operations next year but it has applied permission under the 0/20 rule that would have permitted it to go international before five years.

Vistara will complete five years of operations next year but it has applied permission under the 0/20 rule that would have permitted it to go international before five years.

The Tata Group-owned full service airline Vistara which was hopeful to launch international operations last year but couldn’t as it is yet to get the government’s permission, said on Tuesday that the impact of the delay is manageable as the airline has been able to absorb the capacity it planned to deploy overseas on domestic routes. Further, the widebody aircraft will be added only next year to its fleet.

“We are hopeful of getting the permission to fly international soon,” said Leslie Thng, CEO, Vistara on the sidelines of CAPA Aviation Summit.

Though he did not attribute the reason of the delay to the allegations of lobbying and bribing to bring changes in the 5/20 policy by another Tata Group promoted budget carrier AirAsia, Thng said, “There is a process and they need some approval within the civil aviation ministry to finally allow us to go international.”

Vistara will complete five years of operations next year but it has applied permission under the 0/20 rule that would have permitted it to go international before five years.

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On the delay impacting the international strategy adversely as the airline has already ordered 60 aircraft factoring the international expansion, a mix of narrow and widebody aircraft to be deployed on the international routes, Thng said at the moment Vistara is only a 22 aircraft airline and whatever capacity they have will be deployed in the domestic market.

“Yes there is a delay in the sense that earlier we hoped that we could start the international operations before the end of last year, now we are already in February. We are deploying the resources in the country,” he said. “What is more important for us is the next batch of aircraft which will be delivered to us in the second half of this year, so right now the impact is still manageable,” he added.

This fiscal year, the airline will add 10-12 aircraft, of which two will be Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 2 Airbus A321s and the rest Airbus A320s, which is narrow body.

“The widebody aircraft deliveries will be only in 2020 and by then we are hopeful that we will get the permission to fly international.” The airline will look at expanding its domestic market on its narrow body fleet to get the depth and width as to provide feed and provide two-way connectivity for international operations.

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