Full-service airline Vistara is inducting the third Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner into its fleet. The Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines joint venture plans to use the new aircraft to increase its flight frequency to Frankfurt and Paris from October 30, 2022.
Vistara is looking to operate six weekly flights between Delhi and Frankfurt and five weekly flights between Delhi and Paris from October 30 this year. It has also opened bookings for additional flights.
Earlier in March, Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan told Reuters that the domestic airline was in talks with lessors for long-haul aircraft to bridge the gap left by Boeing 787 deliveries.
Vistara had to take the plane on the lease because Boeing had not delivered four more Dreamliner planes to it for two years. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US aviation regulator, wants Boeing to make rectifications in Dreamliner’s production line before restarting the deliveries.
In the past week, Boeing has received preliminary clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resume deliveries after going over a year without any.
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Boeing last delivered a Dreamliner in May 2021 and hopes to restart deliveries this year and clear a backlog of 115 already-built aircraft.
Vistara had ordered six Dreamliner planes in 2018 but has received only two from Boeing. The second plane was delivered in August 2020. Since then, it has been waiting for the other Dreamliners to boost its international flight operations.
Dreamliner is a wide-bodied aircraft with a bigger fuel tank that allows it to easily operate on long-haul international routes. Vistara Dreamliners have a business, premium economy and economy cabins.
The third Dreamliner being inducted aircraft will also feature fully-flat business class seats, each with direct aisle access, and a separate premium economy cabin.
In a press release, Vistara said it will be increasing its number of flights to Frankfurt in Germany and Paris in France as it “gears up to receive its third Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which has been leased recently”.
“Europe has been a key focus market for us since the very beginning, and we are glad that our customers appreciate our offerings on these long-haul routes. We have been wanting to ramp up frequencies on these sectors and we are delighted to be able to finally do that.”Deepak Rajawat, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara
At the time, Vistara had around 50 aircraft, including two 787-9s received before the delivery suspension and a mix of Airbus and Boeing narrow-body airliners. The plan is to take 20 more aircraft by 2023-end for domestic and close international destinations.
Earlier in May this year, Vistara increased its frequencies from Delhi-London and Mumbai-Singapore besides increasing frequencies in its other international and domestic routes.
The seven-year-old company is looking at expanding its global footprint as a “priority” but has not yet made a profit. This is the first Dreamliner aircraft leased by Vistara.
The airline’s losses narrowed last fiscal year, and Kannan said he had seen a further improvement until February when fuel prices spiked. While demand is growing and airfares are moving higher, it will be difficult to offset higher fuel costs and the burden of a depreciating rupee.