Thursday, July 19, 2018

Neelam Mathews

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has signed letters of intent for six Boeing 787-9s with General Electric GEnx-1B engines and 13 Airbus A320/A321neos with CFM Leap 1-A engines. The order is valued at $3.1billion at list prices. In addition, Vistara will add a further 37 new leased A320neo-family models, taking the fleet of its A320neo-family to 50.
“We have not yet signed a definitive agreement which is the next step,” Vistara CEO Leslie Thng told AIN. The A320neo family will step up Vistara’s domestic network and support expansion on regional (short-haul) international routes. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery from next year's first quarter until 2023. Its 787-9s for medium-haul and long-haul international routes are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2021, Thng added.
The company believes the 787-9 is “the best fit for us to support the expansion roadmap we have envisaged for Vistara,” said Thng, noting the selection of the A320neo family ensures “a continuation in terms of the 21 aircraft we already have.” Bangkok and Singapore could be Vistara’s first international regional destinations, a lessor told AIN. “The flying range of the Boeing 787-9, presents many possibilities, and we’re still in the process of finalizing the destinations that Vistara will fly to,” said Thng. London could be one of the initial destinations, AIN has learned.
Vistara is in the process of seeking necessary approvals from authorities to start international operations. Thng said SIA as a partner “will be a natural choice for us when we fly to destinations in the Southeast Asia region to tap into their extensive network. Likewise, when we start flying to destinations in other continents, we will look for like-minded partners to mutually gain from partnerships.” However, she added, “Vistara will not be a feeder airline to SIA. India’s [domestic] aviation market has tremendous opportunities for us to grow.”

While Delhi will continue to be Vistara’s primary hub, “as we expand our network, we do not rule out the possibility of having secondary hubs for our domestic, as well as international, operations.”

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