Vistara has officially inaugurated its first route to Tokyo, flying from New Delhi this morning using one of its 787-9s. The route was originally set to launch on June 16th, but was pushed back three weeks due to operational reasons. The flights to Japan marks Vistara’s first long-haul route in Asia as it looks to become a global long-haul carrier.
Up and away
Vistara has kicked off its first service to Tokyo Haneda this morning. Flight UK83 departed New Delhi Airport at 03:14 AM local time for the 8-hour and 20-minute journey to Japan. The Boeing 787-9 took a fairly straightforward path east, flying through Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China, before entering Japan.
The flight touched down at Haneda Airport at 14:18 local time, over 30 minutes before its scheduled time. Total flight time was only 7 hours and 34 minutes, making up for the 15-minute delay during departure.
The Delhi-Tokyo route is scheduled to operate once a week currently, likely due to COVID-19 entry restrictions. The outbound flight, UK83, will leave Delhi at 03:00 AM and arrive at 14:50 local times on Wednesdays. After a day on the ground, the Dreamliner will leave Haneda at 17:50 and touch down in Delhi at 23:35 local times on Thursday.
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Delhi to Tokyo has quickly become a busy international route. Currently, three carriers serve the route: ANA, Japan Airlines, and Air India (Narita). While the pandemic has reduced schedules, these carriers once flew daily services from the city. Vistara’s entry will make it the fourth airline on this route.
Airlines have been scheduling their flights in a way to boost load factors. As of August, JAL operates flights from Delhi on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. ANA flies on Tuesday and Friday. Air India operates flights on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Vistara’s flight fits in neatly with this, only clashing with partner Japan Airlines’ services.
All four airlines also fly their Boeing 787s (-8s and -9s) on the Delhi-Tokyo route, offering similar capacity. As entry restrictions loosen and more passengers take to the skies, expect to see these airlines quickly increase frequencies.
For Vistara, the beginning of flights to Tokyo marks its first foray into the long-haul East Asian market. While these routes had been a top focus before the pandemic, they have largely been closed off due to strict border controls. Instead, the airline has been flying to destinations London and Frankfurt.
The carrier is also seriously considering launching flights to the US in late 2021 or early 2022. This would mean taking deliveries of more 787-9s (Vistara only has two currently) and making some cabin changes.
For now, Vistara will continue looking for opportunities to grow its presence globally as international traffic starts to rebound.
What do you think about Vistara’s new Tokyo service? Let us know in the comments!