India’s Vistara is planning to expand in a big way, doubling its fleet size before the end of the financial year. By March 2020, the airline will have added 20 new aircraft bringing its total to 42, compared to just 22 in March last year. The new additions range from A320neos to Boeing 787-9s.
What are the details of this fleet expansion?
Back in March of 2019, Vistara was a relatively small player on the world stage. Founded by Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, the airline flew just 22 aircraft at the start of this financial year. Whilst 22 aircraft is not a small number by any means, compared to giants like American Airlines with hundreds and hundreds of jets, it’s a relatively humble number.
Their fleet was made up of 13 A320-200s and nine Boeing 737-800s (which are believed to be former Jet Airways aircraft). They operated mostly domestic routes in the Indian marketplace against rivals like IndiGo. But recently the carrier has expanded to fill in the gap left by Jet Airways.
As such, Vistara has had a few new additions to its family.
It has taken on board a total of 13 A320neos over the last six months. An impressive feat, not just from Airbus who had to build them, but for the airline to incorporate them into the fleet also. These aircraft have modern interior improvements over the older A320-200s in the fleet such as in-seat power and holding trays for personal devices.
They have 44 more on order yet to be delivered over the next few years. Interestingly enough one of the A320neos is in an all-economy configuration, ignoring the normal eight J seats Vistara usually has onboard.
Additionally, the airline is set to receive up to six A321neos for short-haul routes and six Boeing 787-9s for long haul international routes.
This brings the new total by the year’s end of 42 aircraft. You might be wondering how they got so many aircraft so fast? Well, the secret is this… one Airbus A320neo is confirmed to be Ex-WOW Air (which is relaunching as PLAY), a Boeing 787 was originally planned for Hainan Airlines, and their entire fleet of the Boeing 737s are from Jet Airways.
“With this, from 22 aircraft in March 2019, the airline will take the fleet size to 42 by March 2020“, said Vistara in a statement to News18. “With our fleet expansion, we will continue to grow our domestic and international network, including the commencement of medium and long haul international flights in 2020” continued Leslie Thng, Vistara’s Chief Executive Officer.
Where will these aircraft fly?
With so many new aircraft on order, it is a miracle that the airline can find enough destinations to send their aircraft off to. It is believed that they plan to increase their route network from 24 to 34, with some aircraft opening new routes and others adding frequency services. The list of cities they plan to fly to include:
Long haul routes are not mentioned, but will likely be to the UK (London), USA and Japan (Tokyo).
“With our fleet expansion, we will continue to grow our domestic and international network, including the commencement of medium and long haul international flights in 2020” – Mr. Thng
What do you think of this route planning? Are they making the right moves with such a huge fleet expansion? Let us know in the comments.