Leslie Thng, CEO of Vistara Airlines, has planned to strengthen the airline’s networks and take it international by the end of 2018. According to the norms of the government, an airline needs to have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft before being eligible for overseas operations. Vistara, which began operations in January 2015, as of July 2018 had 21 Airbus A320 aircraft in operation and is now looking forward to taking the airline to new, progressive heights by going international. The airlines have placed an order of both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft with a view to enlarge its domestic networks and launch international flights within the next two years. Initially, only South-East Asian routes would be included as the airline goes global.
Leslie Thng remarked “We hope to fly internationally by the second half of the year, by December 2018. We are in the process of seeking necessary permissions from relevant authorities. Our international operations will start off with short-haul international routes, within the capabilities of our A320 fleet.”
Vistara Growth Plans Over the Next Two Years
Talking about the growth plans of the airline, the CEO informed that the airline’s next phase of growth is divided into different buckets focusing on regional/short-haul international routes and medium to long-haul destinations which will be served by Airbus and Boeing fleets respectively. The airline has placed an order for 50 Airbus A320 aircraft and 6 Boeing 787 aircraft.
“The next phase of growth of Vistara is categorized into different buckets. One is domestic and regional/short-haul international routes, which will be served by the Airbus fleet of aircraft. This will help Vistara expand both within and outside India and on all routes that this aircraft could support us on. For medium to long-haul destinations, we decided that Boeing 787-900 (Dreamliner) would be the best for us and would allow us to start medium-haul operations from 2020.” The CEO said.
Leslie Thng also said that expanding the domestic network of the airline is also of prime importance. By planning to bring in 50 narrow-body aircraft, the airline is planning to intensify their domestic footprint heavily. Fares and Operational Revenue. With the fuel prices on a consistent rise, the airline plans to find a sweet spot between competitive fares and profitable revenue.
“Fuel prices are significantly higher than the last year, which increases the airline operating cost. We are looking at measures to keep our costs competitive as well as to improve our revenue. But, having said that we do a bit of hedging (agreement to purchase jet fuel at a predetermined price for a specified future time period), which helps us to moderate the eventual impact of the rice in oil prices.”
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Talking about the fares for international flights, Leslie Thng informed, “We are a full-service airline. So, when we go international we will ensure that our pricing is competitive enough to attract the market segment we are targeting. As far as premium economy is concerned, that is definitely an option for us to consider. I think premium economy is always more relevant, especially, when you fly further and longer.”