Vistara is planning the start of international services in 2018, once it has 20 aircraft in its fleet.
This news comes just days after India amended its 5/20 rule, which lifted the regulation stating that all airlines must have at least five years of domestic flying experience before being allowed to fly overseas.
Speaking to CNBC, Vistara’s chief executive Phee Teik Yeoh confirmed that the airline is currently operating a fleet of 11 aircraft and will take delivery of another two later this year.
“[These will all be] the A320 with the current engine option (CEO),” said Phee. “But the first of our new engine option (NEO) A320s are slated to be delivered from June 2017, and we will have achieved a full 20 aircraft fleet size by June 2018.”
However, the chief executive remained coy about likely overseas destinations that Vistara might serve, telling Live Mint: “We will be spoilt for choice when it comes to international destinations.”
Given that Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, it will be interesting to see how the Indian carrier’s international services complement the overall SIA Group strategy, while attempting to compete with both Air India and Jet Airways – Indian carriers with a sizeable international presence.
Another factor to take into consideration is the capacity and range limitations of the narrow-body A320. Vistara will presumably be using the A320neo for its international flights due to the fuel efficiency and increased range of the aircraft, as compared to the A320ceo.
However, a range of 6,500km still pales in comparison to widebody aircraft such as the A330 (13,450km), A350 (15,000km) and the A380 (15,200km), suggesting that Vistara will probably be limited mainly to a regional presence.
For more information, visit airvistara.com