Full-service carrier Vistara will move forward in returning one Boeing 737 to lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). Jet Airways previously utilized the Boeing 737 in question before ceasing all operations in April 2019.
Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, seeks to return the aircraft as a means of reducing costs. The coronavirus outbreak has significantly reduced passenger demand, and airlines are working hard to stay afloat amid the crisis.
According to Live Mint, Vistara’s move is to return older planes, starting with a Boeing 737. Citing an anonymous source, Live Mint says the aircraft will be sent back by the end of the week.
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Leasing ex-Jet Airways Boeing 737s
Simple Flying previously reported that Vistara had leased nine Boeing 737-800s from grounded Jet Airways in 2019. The reason for this was that Vistara was awaiting deliveries of Airbus A320neos to take advantage of now-bankrupt Jet Airways’ route capacity.
Once the Boeing 737s became less critical to the airline, it returned two such aircraft in January 2020. With the removal of another this week to GECAS, Vistara will be left with six Boeing 737s in its fleet. These also have an expiry date.
As Business Traveller reported in January, the remaining Boeing aircraft will be phased out between 2022-2023. However, with the hit the aviation industry has taken amid the virus outbreak, it is no wonder that Vistara has sped up the removal of another aircraft in 2020.
The aircraft will likely be leased to a carrier based out of Taiwan, Live Mint reports. Following the Boeing 737’s return, Vistara will have a total of 40 aircraft in its fleet.
Negotiations to delay deliveries
Vistara is going further to reduce any expenses that may jeopardize the airline’s financial standing. The carrier ordered AirbusA320neos, A321neo jets, and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, all set to arrive this year.
However, the airline is currently in negotiations with Boeing Co. and Airbus to delay the deliveries. Vinod Kannan, chief strategy officer of Vistara, told Live Mint that the orders are being reviewed. He said,
“We have taken delivery of our first Boeing 787-9 plane. The second one was supposed to come in March, but this hasn’t happened. Our Airbus A321 planes were also supposed to come from March-April, but this hasn’t happened too. A lot of this is due to logistics issues.”
The airline is also considering premature lease returns to cut costs significantly. In fact, the airline will send back six leased Airbus A320ceo planes by the end of the year.
Vistara’s rise in India
An airline that came to existence merely seven years ago, Vistara has managed to rise to the top and flown over 20 million passengers. Now, Vistara joins Air India as one of two full-service carriers in the state.
The airline flies to 36 destinations currently, inclusive of domestic and international routes. Vistara dominates the sector focusing on high-end business passengers, as its route network reaches significant cities in India such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
Although the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in an uncertain future for the airline, the current standing and brand name that Vistara has built may prove to be just what it needs to survive.
Simple Flying has reached out to Vistara for comment on the return of its Boeing 737 but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article after receiving a response.
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