Vistara will launch flights to four overseas destinations in the next few months and expand commercial partnership with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to drive international traffic growth.
The airline on Thursday announced its maiden international flights to Singapore beginning August 6. The new flights will be operated from Delhi and Mumbai with a twin-class Boeing 737 aircraft, which the airline leased recently.
The new flights have been launched after the airline secured traffic rights held earlier by Jet Airways. Flights are open for booking till September-end and will be extended upon receipt of regulatory approvals.
Vistara is likely to announce a Mumbai-Dubai flight soon. Services between Delhi-Bangkok and Delhi-Kathmandu are also on the cards. “We are looking to expand to a few more international destinations in the next couple of months,” Vistara said in a statement.
The Tata Sons-SIA joint venture airline received government nod to operate international services in March. Originally it had planned to start a service to Colombo, but that plan was put on hold because of terror attacks on Easter Sunday (April 21).
The other important strategy will be to offer one-stop connections to Australia, New Zealand and countries in Southeast Asia. At present, SIA puts its marketing code on Vistara’s domestic flights, but codeshares will be expanded on international routes to enable more sales.
“The start of international operations now enables us to enhance our existing partnerships and establish new ones, not just in Singapore but across geographies. This will mean access for Vistara customers to expanded network to points beyond destinations that we’ll be flying. We are working with our existing partners and other international airlines on this,” the airline said.
Around 4.7 million passengers travelled between India and Singapore in 2018, and traffic grew by 12 per cent in that. Mumbai is among its top 20 destinations, Singapore’s Changi airport had announced earlier in January. The city state also saw new connections to Pune and Vijayawada last year, but now both have been suspended. SIA (and its brands Scoot and Silk Air) is the largest carrier on the India-Singapore market, which is also served by Air India and IndiGo.
Vistara said the existing Airbus A320 planes in its fleet are not suited to fly nonstop to Singapore and hence, Boeing 737 aircraft is being used for operation. “We will be adding more aircraft to our fleet in the next few months, including A320neo, A321neo, and Boeing 787-9, which will feature our flagship three-class configuration. We may eventually fly one of the aircraft to Singapore as well,” the airline said.