DALLAS – India’s premium full-service carrier, Vistara (UK), has been in the air now since 2015, connecting a variety of Indian cities with its hub in New Delhi (DEL). By the look of it, the airline seems to be looking at a second hub in the country —Mumbai (BOM).
Comments by Vinod Kannan, CEO, Vistara “Mumbai is of high strategic importance for Vistara and is the second-biggest hub for us after Delhi. We have already increased daily departures from 38 to 50 from Mumbai since the pandemic. It has also helped us in developing a dense feeder network, enabling convenient international connections for our customers.”
Vistara Network Glimpse
Vistara has laid a foundation in DEL for 7 years and holds guard there, but with Mumbai, things are a bit trickier. BOM is a severely slot-constrained airport, so for the carrier to really establish a hub would take some level of patience and still focus on a smaller network. At present, it operates around 50 daily flights out of Mumbai, four of which are international to Singapore Changi (SIN), Male (MLE), Dubai (DXB), and Jeddah (JED) which will commence on August 2.
More short-haul and long-haul sectors are in progress, but there’s a real hold-up —no aircraft. Vista has been waiting for aircraft for a really long time, especially the Dreamliners. At the moment, two Boeing 787-9 operate on the long-haul network for the carrier while four more of the type are on order, an order that’s severely delayed and impeding Vistara’s international expansion. The two make long-haul runs from New Delhi to Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG), and London (LHR).
Once the BOM hub is established, along with an intake of newer aircraft, the carrier will fly to more Gulf-based countries with the narrowbody and deploy the Dreamliner to some European destinations.
As for TATA’s Air India take over, a lot of controversy looms around if Vistar will be under the umbrella too but nothing concrete has been announced yet so for the time being it’s solely a Vistara expansion and growth.
Recently, UK celebrated another milestone – expanding to a 50-strong aircraft-strong fleet. The latest addition is VT-TVE, an Airbus A321neo. In total, the fleet stands at 53, comprised of the A320Ceo/Neo, A321 Neo, B737-800 (ex Jet Airways), and the 787-9 Dreamliner. The fleet strength will increase to 70 by the end of 2023, Mr. Kannan said.
Featured image: Vistara VT-TTN Airbus A320. Photo: Ratchapon Pipitsombat/Airways