Vistara looks to fly to Australia, Europe next year: report

Full service carrier Vistara, is set to start long-haul international flights to destinations in Europe and Australia next year, even as the airline will focus on growth in South-East Asia and West Asia during 2019, its chief executive said.

Vistara, the joint venture between Tata Sons Ltd and Singapore Airlines, 
will also look for code-share partnerships with other airlines in the new geographies, The Mint quoted Leslie Thng as saying in an interview on Wednesday.
“We look at our independent network in India as a very big source market. Every destination we fly, we look for a partner. SIA (Singapore Airlines) is a natural partner for South-East Asia and Australia," Thng said.
“We do have plans to eventually fly to Australia on our own. We are also working on vice-versa codeshare with British Airways (for Europe)," Thng added.
Vistara announced plans to operate flights to Europe and Australia after it announced flights to Singapore and Dubai. While the airline will start flying on the Mumbai-Singapore route from Wednesday, it will start Mumbai-Dubai operations from 21 August and Delhi-Bangkok flights from 27 August.
However, the airline will focus on growth in South-East Asia and West Asia during 2019, and look at long-haul flights after receiving its wide body planes next year.
Last July, Vistara ordered 19 planes worth $3.1 billion from Airbus SE and Boeing Co. While it will use Boeing 787 (Dreamliner) planes on long-haul international routes, it will use Airbus A321 planes on medium-haul routes and Airbus A320 planes on short-haul international routes. The planes will be added through a mix of direct orders, leases and options.
Vistara plans to take deliveries of Airbus A321 and Boeing 787 planes during January-March 2020, Thng said, adding the new aircraft will help the airline operate flights to overseas destinations like Europe in the next six to seven months. “For the rights to fly to these destinations, we would need to work with the governments and for the slots with the airport authorities. Getting certain slots would be easier but for certain others, we would need to do a commercial arrangement such as code-sharing agreements," Thng said.
“For now, we are focusing on our code-share agreement that is Singapore Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, Japan Airlines. We are looking to put our code into 44 destinations across 10 countries—the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia," Thng added.
Vistara currently has a fleet of 30 planes, including seven Boeing 737s that were earlier operated by grounded airline Jet Airways. All the planes are on lease of 1-4 years. The airline will add two planes to its fleet each month till December.