As a full-service carrier, Vistara plans to start flight operations first to Europe and then to the US and Australia and the share of domestic and international operations is likely to reach 50:50 in five years, the airline's CEO Leslie Thng said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters soon after the landing of Vistara's first international flight in Singapore, Thng said the 50:50 share in 5 years will depend on the number of aircraft Vistara brings in that time period.
"We are ending the financial year soon in March 2020. The contribution of international as a percentage of ASK (available seat kilometers) will still be low because we are just starting (international operations)," he said.
ASK is the passenger carrying capacity that is calculated by multiplying the number of total available seats that an airline has with the number of total kilometres it will fly.
"In next 2-3 years, I would say that in terms of ASK, domestic would be still be acquiring a larger proportion, compared to international, on the basis that we would continue to expand our domestic operations as well," Thng said.
"If you extrapolate further beyond three years, and see five years down the road, we could possibly look at 50-50 per cent kind of contribution," he added.
On Monday, Vistara started its international operations. Its first international flight departed from Delhi on Monday at 11.45 pm (local time) and landed at Singapore at around 8.20 am (local time).
It also depends on when the full-service carrier starts travelling to the US and Australia because "these are really long-haul" and that adds a large amount of ASK capacity, Thng said.
He said that on March 31 this year the airline had a fleet of 22 aircraft, which would increase to 41 aircraft by December 31.
The airline has already ordered six A321neos and six B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft and they would be used for international operations.
"The first two B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft would be delivered by February and March in 2020," Thng said.
He added that the first A321neo would be delivered to Vistara by March next year.
"What we have decided on these two aircraft (B787-9 and A321neo), it would be three-class configuration. It would be business class, premium economy class and economy class," he said.
Thng said the flying range of A321neo would be around 7 hours from Delhi.
"So, from Delhi to Singapore and Hong Kong is not a problem. We can deploy it to southern part of the Europe as well," he added.
About B787-9 aircraft that will join the Vistara fleet early next year, he said they would be configured to fly up to 11 hours.
"It can only fly to Europe. Having said that, we do have plans to fly to the US and Australia, but that is more in phase 2 at the moment. Under phase 1, the B787 would be connecting Asia and Europe (with India)."
Thng said at the moment the international flights of Vistara were planned to have non-stop flights only.
From August 21, Vistara is starting flights on Mumbai-Dubai route and from August 27 onwards, the airline will starts flights on Delhi-Bangkok route.