Vistara has taken over a Boeing 787 Dreamliner airframe that was initially scheduled to go to Hainan Airlines, as the carrier continues to expand its operation. The Indian Airline has agreed to take delivery of the plane which is still being built, according to reporting from Live From a Lounge.
Plane spotters initially broke the news, having observed the aircraft at close quarters in Everett, Washington, where a Boeing factory is located. Hainan Airlines had previously taken 38 Boeing 787-9 jets on order, with eight yet to be delivered. But as Hainan had chosen not to pick up some of the aircraft that it ordered earlier this year, it seems that Vistara has acted rapidly in order to claim at least one of the aircraft.
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Hainan Airlines is part of the HNA group – a Chinese conglomerate headquartered in Haikou. The group has experienced significant financial difficulty in recent months, and this may have been behind the decision to allow Vistara to pick up this particular 787.
Vistara has already signaled its intention to only purchase airframes that closely fit their required conditions, and has earmarked the Everett-manufactured products as being ideally suitable. As this aircraft is already in production, it could well mean that Vistara has moved up the queue, and could receive its first 787 sooner than expected.
Jet Airways collapse
This plan would suit the Indian carrier, as it continues to thrive in the wake of the collapse of Jet Airways. Vistara has already announced plans to expand its widebody fleet, with six Boeing 787-9s scheduled to arrive in February 2020, as the carrier grows its network.
The deal for Vistara to take over this airframe will also undoubtedly be welcomed by Boeing. The US manufacturer has faced extensive commercial pressures in recent months, which resulted in the planemaker delivering only 302 commercial aircraft so far this year. In particular, the grounding of the 737 MAX program has proved damaging for Boeing.
Jet Airways was forced to close in April after it ran out of collateral, thus ending the existence of India’s oldest private carrier. Jet became the third airline in India to fail in less than a decade. While this illustrates the challenges that carriers face in the existing climate, it has also proved to be excellent news for Vistara, which has picked up some of the slack caused by Jet’s liquidation.
New international routes
As a result of the Jet collapse, Vistara has taken on a slew of new international routes and codeshares. And the previously domestic airline recently revealed Singapore as its first international destination, as the carrier looks further afield following healthy financial results. The carrier began flying routes between Delhi, Mumbai and Singapore earlier this year.