Vistara has rolled out WiFi on its 787s, officially making it the first Indian airline to offer the feature. The first WiFi-enabled flight took place this morning on Vistara’s Delhi to London rote. The service is currently free to passengers on the 787 and pricing will likely be announced soon.
Long scheduled plans
India reversed its long-standing ban on inflight WiFi in March, the same time Vistara took delivery of its first 787-9. The airline had earlier announced that it plans to offer WiFi on its 787s and A321neo, both of which will be used on international routes.
However, the current crisis has significantly slowed down the rollout, with the Indian government only outlining the rules a few weeks ago. With this, Vistara got the clearance to start using inflight WiFi, nearly six months after the 787 was delivered.
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The announcement today makes Vistara India’s first and only carrier to offer inflight connectivity. This fits well with its full-service priorities as it looks to position itself as a long-haul carrier in the coming years. WiFi is particularly important on international business routes since it allows passengers to remain connected and get work done.
Vistara’s thrice-weekly London service today was the first flight to see inflight WiFi. The system is run by Panasonic Avionics in partnership with NELCO. To celebrate the launch of the service, WiFi is currently free to all passengers on the Delhi-London Heathrow flights.
Staying connected onboard is the new feeling. Introducing Vistara Wi-Fi on our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner™ starting tonight on our flight to London Heathrow.
— Vistara (@airvistara) September 17, 2020
Vistara is yet to announce pricing for its WiFi packages but we can expect it to be in-line with standard rates. The inclusion of WiFi puts Vistara at par with other full-service carriers out of India, such as United, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and the ME3.
As Vistara expands its route map, many may opt to fly with them instead of Indian competitor Air India thanks to the availability of WiFi. SpiceJet also can add WiFi on its 737 MAX fleet once it is ungrounded, but details of that are still unknown.
The airline reported a $247 million loss for the fiscal year ending 31st March 2020, much greater than competitors. However, the airline also saw revenue rise by 58% as Vistara doubled its destinations. This year will likely be worse for the carrier as it battles the current crisis and most of its new fleet remains grounded.
However, we can expect Vistara to bounce back soon after this crisis and establish itself as a major Indian international carrier. For now, the airline is only operating a fraction of its usual schedule as it looks for chances to restart profitable routes.
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