New Delhi: TATA SAI Airlines Ltd. Chairman Bhaskar Bhat (2L) with Vistara CEO Leslie Thng (2R) pose for photographs during the launch of Vistara Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, in New Delhi, Monday, March 2, 2020. (PTI Photo/Ravi Choudhary)(PTI02-03-2020_000119B)

MIAMI – Vistara (UK) with two Boeing 787-9s and more on the way is eyeing US flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, the 787-9s cannot do a full nonstop to the US and thus UK is left looking for different aircraft options to become the second Indian carrier after Air India (AI) to serve the US.

UK Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan said the airline is “working on (US nonstops). [The] current B787 (in Vistara fleet) cannot operate to US directly, so we are looking at options for now.”

Among the aircraft in the runup are different variants of the Boeing 787, the Boeing 777, the Airbus A330, and the Airbus A350.

Vistara Airbus A320 at Delhi (DEL) Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation

A Potential Dominator

India now has an air bubble agreement with the US, allowing passengers to proceed between the two countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic along with Delta Air Lines (DL) and Air France (AF) codesharing on such flights.

AI, operating a fleet of 777s to the US, would face stiff competition from UK with the Indian government hinting that if AI receives no buyer it may be allowed to go under.

UK could potentially be one of those buyers and thus dominate the US market by adding new routes and maintaining those presently operating.

Featured image: Vistara