One of the few advantages of an airline going bankrupt and everything coming up for sale is that their aircraft can be acquired on the cheap. In the case of the recent Jet Airways collapse, many airlines are looking at their 56 aircraft (ranging from small ATR- 72-500s to Boeing 777s) with glee.
Vistara, a rival to Jet Airways and on the rise to take over the nation’s airspace, is now looking at snapping up their Boeing 777s, along with two A330-300s and three 737s, as reported by Business Today India.
This is news, because Vistara doesn’t actually have any international routes, nor any aircraft to fly them. Until now.
Why is Vistara interested in the Jet 777s?
Jet Airways has nine Boeing 777-300ERs on their books. There are reports that they have 10, but during research of this article we are unsure where this 10th is.
These aircraft can carry 346 passengers in a three class configuration (8 First, 30 Business and 308 in economy).
Vistara is keen to expand their international presence. With Jet Airways gone and Air India under financial strain, there is a gap for them to surge ahead and corner the market.
Looking at the Boeing order book, you can see that Vistara has ordered six Boeing 787-9s, due to be delivered in 2020. This order was originally kept small as Vistara was concerned about landing slots in European airports. But, according to sources close to the matter, the downfall of Jet Airways means that there is now room for Vistara to step in.
They apparently contacted Boeing and asked for the aircraft to be delivered ASAP, but had no luck. Thus this windfall of long haul aircraft couldn’t come at a better time.
Better yet, the Boeing 777s already have crew, ground staff and could be flying in less than a week. This is because all the Jet Airways staff who work with these aircraft could come with them as a package deal.
What is the onboard service like?
There is a question of whether or not Vistara will reconfigure the Jet Airways 777s. In the past, we have seen airlines take ownership of aircraft and not change a thing, pressing them right into service much to the delight of passengers (as such was the case of Hi Fly’s Singapore A380 with first class suites).
As we don’t know for sure if Vistara will reconfigure the Boeing 777s, we can only go on how they were previously laid out by Jet Airways.
The current configuration has interesting issues for Vistara. Currently Vistara offers a very basic business class on their aircraft, recliners with 40 inches of pitch.
The Jet Airways 777s, however, offer first class seats in private suites, complete with lie-flat beds. Then in business, herringbone private lie-flat beds with direct aisle access. Will Vistara now offer a first class option to fly long haul?
Where would Vistara fly the Boeing 777s?
This is the most interesting point to consider.
Vistara originally planned on using the Boeing 787s to slowly expand domestic routes, with one or two short haul international routes to nearby destinations such as Dubai or Singapore.
But now with these 777s (and A330s), they plan on going straight to the big prize: direct flights to Europe and North America. It’s also possible that they will look at flights to Africa, and be only the second airline in India to offer direct routes.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!