Even as a potential merger with Air India is being considered, Vistara is charting its plans to expand international operations. The airline plans to increase frequency on the Frankfurt and Paris route and add newer routes.
The joint venture between Tata group and Singapore Airlines has seen an 80% load factor on its international routes with a rise in bookings for premium economy and business class seats.
Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara said that the airline is charting out a plan to cater to the diaspora demand.
The full-service carrier is seeing a higher propensity of travel on the premium economy and business class due to covid. Vistara flies to London daily and operates flights to Frankfurt and Paris three times and two times a week respectively.
“The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) is almost 80% for international routes. The wide bodies are doing extremely well especially for London. Frankfurt and Paris too are seeing a good load factor.
The load factors and fares have increased fairly well. This includes corporate travel which is at 60% to 70% of pre-pandemic level. The void is being filled by SMEs plus we have domestic and leisure travel.
We have increased our capacity to London, there is potential to do more. However, that is not our only goal. After the August-September rush, we have Diwali and then the year-end, so there is a high season which we would like to capitalise on ultimately we need to have a good plan and we are working on it.”Vinod Kannan, CEO, Vistara
Given that the airline has a good load factor on these routes, “We are looking at an increasing frequency which we believe we can do more. Even for London, we feel like we could do more, we are charting out a plan, but that is dependent on when we get the aircraft.” Vinod Kannan pointed out.
Vistara had ordered six B787 planes in 2018 but has got delivery of only two B787 to date. For more than a year, Boeing has not delivered any B787 plane as the US Aviation regulator wants it to first make rectifications in the aircraft production line.
The next few months are important for carriers flying to international destinations due to the education travel. When asked if the delay in delivery was a dampener, he said that the airline has already added 25% more flights compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Vistara presently operates 257 flights a day, as compared to 200 flights a day before the pandemic.
During covid, Vistara operated charter flights to Hong Kong and Moscow, it had plans to fly to these destinations post covid too, however, due to the current market scenario, it has put these plans on the back seat.
It has also operated flights to Doha and Sharjah during covid under the air bubble. Vistara has now asked for rights to fly to these destinations too.
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(With Inputs from Hindu BusinessLine)