By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Soon to complete 5 years of operations, Tata Group-Singapore Airlines backed passenger carrier — Vistara — plans to operate beyond the subcontinent and southeast Asia.
The airline which commenced commercial operations on January 9, 2015 has indicated plans to commence services to Europe and Japan by 2020-21.
In an interview to IANS, Vistara’s Chief Executive Leslie Thng said India’s only full-service private carrier will be able to add destinations with up to 11 hours of flying time as it inducts the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft by early next year.
“The 787-9 aircraft that we induct early next year will be able to fly to destinations with up to 11 hours of flying time,” he said.
“The choice of our existing codeshare partners may be indicative of the long-haul destinations that we are looking to add to our network.”
The full-service carrier has established interline agreements with 26 airlines around the world and entered codeshare agreements with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, British Airways, Japan Airlines and United Airlines.
At present, the airline operates to Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok and Colombo. It is said to soon commence operations to Kathmandu.
Late last month, Vistara a joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines commenced services to Colombo from Mumbai.
It had inaugurated international operations in August 2019 with Singapore as its first destination, followed by Dubai and Bangkok.
Lately, the airline has expanded its fleet and network by close to 50 per cent.
Besides, the number of aircraft deployed by the airline is set to almost double by the end of the current financial year in comparison to the fleet size it had at the start of FY19-20.
“We will continue to take delivery of 320s and expect to have 42 aircraft by end Mar 2020 including 787 and 321,” he said.
“We have planned to use the new aircraft to further densify our domestic network and to expand our international operations.”
Last year, it placed an order for 50 aircraft from the Airbus A320neo family for the domestic market as well as short and medium-haul international operations, with deliveries scheduled between 2019 and 2023.
Additionally, the airline has purchased six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that are scheduled to be delivered between 2020 and 2021, and will be used for long-haul international operations.
Presently, the airline connects 34 destinations, operates nearly 200 flights a day served by a fleet of 27 Airbus A320 and nine Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.
It has flown more than 18 million customers since starting operations.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])