Vistara Is Looking To Push Back Airbus And Boeing Deliveries

Indian full-service airline Vistara has negotiated to push back deliveries of its four 787-9 Dreamliners for at least seven months, with arrival now expected in October 2022 instead of next March. The airline is also negotiating with Airbus to delay A320neo family deliveries. Nevertheless, it still has its sights set on long-haul expansion, and believes the pandemic has only made its position in this market stronger.

Vistara 787-9
Vistara is pushing back Dreamliner deliveries. Photo: Vistara

Vistara delays Dreamliners

Indian full service Vistara made waves in March last year when it took delivery of India’s first 787-9. It was also the first widebody for the airline, and signaled a launch into new long-haul markets for the carrier. It now has two Dreamliners in its fleet, and was expecting to have another four by next March. However, those plans have now been pushed back, as it has been revealed that the airline will delay its 787 deliveries until October 2022.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan said,

“We are spacing out our deliveries and pushing some to next year. There have been commercial discussions to see how we can better match delivery stream to the projected demand.”

Vistara is also in discussions with Airbus regarding its outstanding order for 13 A320neo family aircraft. The airline has orders in for another 29 of the aircraft. It is also negotiating with lessors and manufacturers to adjust payment timetables in order to reduce costs.

Nevertheless, the airline still has its sights set on expansion. The CCO said he believes it is still on track to have a fleet of 70 aircraft by 2023. Its present fleet size is 48 aircraft, including 40 A320 family jets, its two Dreamliners and six 737 NGs.

The airline is also looking to negotiate a reduced rate of deliveries with Airbus. Photo: Airbus

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Hope for long-haul success

Despite putting the brakes on international expansion plans for now, Vistara still has its sights firmly set on breaking into more new markets in the future. The CCO said that he still sees an opportunity to add more destinations, and believes that the pandemic has made Vistara’s role in nonstop travel from India even more important. He commented,

“Once we come out of the pandemic, say in the next 12 to 24 months, the expectation is that people will still be cautious, they might not want to go via a third country. That gives us confidence because India is a huge market, and if you look at many of the long-haul destinations, there were a lot of passengers flying through other hubs, be it the Middle East or Europe.”

Vistara 787-9
The airline is still firmly fixed on more long-haul flights. Photo: Vistara

Vistara currently flies to eight international destinations, including London, Tokyo and Frankfurt. While the airline does fly to the Middle East, letting passengers hook up with airlines like Emirates and Etihad, it wants to launch more nonstop services to Europe and the US in the coming months. To facilitate this, it is looking to either install new crew rest facilities on its existing 787-9s, or to lease more aircraft with the crew rests already fitted. Kannan said,

“The current aircraft aren’t equipped with crew bunks required for cabin crew and for pilots to have horizontal rest. There are aircraft available if we want to lease them with these specifications already built in.”