Vistara has confirmed its plans to commence international services in the second half of 2019. It might consider medium and long-haul flights, depending on the authority approvals.
During the annual general meeting of airlines’ grouping IATA on Sunday, Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said, “We see India as a growing market. We are here for the long term.”
"If we do get the necessary rights, we do have a plan in place on how do we plan to operationalise it, but I will not be able to share too much detail," he said.
Vistara currently operates 22 planes and operates 850 flights every week. In April, it announced that it is planning to lease four Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft and two A320 neo planes. In 2018, the airline placed orders for both purchased and leased 50 Airbus A320neo aircraft, including A321neos. The deliveries are scheduled to be between 2019 and 2023. Mostly, this set of aircraft will be used for domestic and small/medium-haul operations.
Besides, Vistara has also bought six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that will be delivered by 2020/2021. These would operate international long-haul operations.
According to CEO Leslie Thng, Vistara will deploy the right type of aircraft depending on the necessary flying rights it receives. Vistara can start short-haul flights but would need more time for long-haul ones, he said.
Vistara is a joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines and has been operating in India for more than four years.
Meanwhile, Vistara grounded its first Boeing aircraft Tuesday on account of engine issues. Jet Airways earlier used this grounded plane Boeing 737 aircraft. The aircraft flew between Amritsar and Delhi on June 3 (Monday) before being removed from services. The airline is conducting the maintenance drill, and the grounded aircraft is expected to be operational by today.