Vistara To Fly Abroad In Early 2018
At present, only full service Air India and Jet Airways have medium and long haul international operations
Photo Credit : AP
Full service Indian carrier Vistara, The Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines JV, is gearing up to go international much sooner than it originally planned. Likely destinations include flying to Japan, Middle East, South East Asian countries among others. Vistara currently has 16 aircraft, all Airbus A-320s, in its fleet.
Indian rules now stipulate an airline here must have 20 planes to start overseas flights. "We will have 20 planes by next march and be eligible to fly abroad after that," Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeo said, while indicating that the airline may place a much larger order too.
As its fleet hits the 20 aircraft mark, Vistara will start its international operations. It says it can do so in early 2018. By March 2018 Vistara says it will have 20 planes in its fleet, which will be three months ahead of earlier planned schedule. The airline will fly long and medium haul to places like Japan as it plans to induct wide body aircraft in its fleet, apart from places close to India in the range of narrow body planes like its Airbus A-320.
Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeo said: "We are very close to finalizing our plans for international operations. Vistara will fly to places like Japan as that is a very important market. We are very excited by the aircraft order (the airline will place) to support our aggressive overseas plan. At this stage, I cannot share the aircraft type and how many wide and narrow body we will need for our plan. Or how soon will we fly abroad. We will make all these announcements very shortly."
At present, only full service Air India and Jet Airways have medium and long haul international operations. IndiGo and SpiceJet use their fleet of narrow body planes for flying to neighbouring places like Gulf and Southeast Asia. These two budget carriers are eyeing long haul flights on wide body planes, with IndiGo expressing its interest in acquiring AI and AI Express.
The Vistara CEO said this here on Thursday when the airline signed an MoU with Japan Airlines to "pursue commercial opportunities that combine the synergies of both with the aim of providing greater convenience to their joint customers travelling between India and Japan, and through Japan to points beyond." This agreement allows the two airlines to codeshare, offer frequent flyer partnership.