With its latest order, Vistara feels that it has addressed the need of the airline to cover both regional short-haul markets and as an aspiring global airline, the medium- to long-haul markets. Vistara’s CEO Leslie Thng spoke to Manisha Singhal about deliveries and deployment of these aircraft. Edited excerpts:
Is Vistara’s order in line with its expansion plans? Is it not conservative?
As far as firm orders are concerned, we are actually talking about 56 aircraft. To Vistara this is a very big order because we are looking at 50 narrow-body plus six wide-body aircraft to be delivered to Vistara over the next four to five years. So this, to us, is a big commitment from the side of both the shareholders in terms of how the airline is to expand.
Why go in for a mixed fleet? What is the edge the 787 will give you?
As far as we are concerned, for a mixed fleet we have taken into consideration the total operating cost that Vistara will have to incur having sort of a mixed fleet, but technically it is not a mixed fleet as we are looking at a medium- and long-haul aircraft that will be deployed for medium- to long-haul versus another aircraft type, the A320 family, which is single-aisle.
What is the deployment plan and deliveries for the A320neos?
The way we have structured this deal is that we have narrow-body and wide-body aircraft. The narrow-body aircraft will be deployed in the domestic market; we have stated that when Vistara goes overseas, the domestic market is going to be equally important, so that we can provide the connectivity and the leverage when we talk about the partnership with other airlines. The narrow-body aircraft will also serve us on the regional short-haul routes to countries maybe four to five hours away, given that we have the experience on operating on A320s.