Tata group’s premium airline Vistara is planning to launch international flights in the second half of this year, CEO Leslie Thng said at an event. “We see India as a growing market. We are here for the long term,” Leslie Thng said at an IATA meeting on Sunday in Seoul, news agency PTI reported. Vistara spokesperson told Financial Express Online that the airline is in the final stages of launching international operations. “Specific details will be shared at an appropriate time. We will start operating international flights with our current fleet of Airbus A320neo aircraft, so the destinations will be within its flying range, which essentially means short-haul international flights,” Vistara spokesperson added.
Further, the airline will also add more aircraft starting next year, “such as the Airbus A321neo and Boeing B787-9” and “will further expand on medium and long-haul routes,” airline’s spokesperson said.
Vistara, a joint venture between the Tata group and Singapore Airlines, is also looking to expand its domestic operations. “We will also densify our domestic network with more narrow-body aircraft,” Vistara spokesperson told Financial Express Online.
Vistara had earlier hoped for the launch of international flights last year but couldn’t go ahead with the plans as it didn’t get government approvals, Leslie Thng had earlier said at the CAPA Aviation Summit. The airline was granted government approvals to fly international routes in March 2019 and became the fifth airline in India to get the nod.
Vistara had previously ordered six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft which will be delivered to the airline in between 2020 and 2021. The airline looks to deploy them on long-haul international operations. The company had also ordered some aircraft previously as well. The same shipment will be used for short and mid-term international operations along with domestic operations, Vistara had said in May 2019. Meanwhile, Financial Express Online has reached out to the carrier for further comments.
With more than 22 planes in its fleet, the airline operates 120 daily flights across India. To further its penetration in the Indian Aviation industry, the airline had announced that it leased six aircraft — four Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft and two A320 neo planes. The company had called it the next phase of its growth. The airline had also got over 100 of Jet’s slots.
Speaking about the new additions, Vistara CEO had said that the decision of Vistara to operate Boeing aircraft will be economical for the airline. He also said that the choice was a “carefully evaluated one,” and will also help Vistara’s agenda to eventually take the carrier’s experience wider and deeper across markets in India, Leslie Thng had said in a statement, late in May 2019.
The airline had also said that despite its international plans, its a commitment to serve domestic market remains unwavering.