Vistara Is Taking Full Advantage Of Jet Airways Demise

As Vistara takes off for Singapore on its first-ever international flight, the carrier has released a slew of announcements regarding further developments. From expanded codeshares to more international routes, it seems Vistara is keen to fill the Jet Airways shaped hole in Indian aviation quite thoroughly.

Vistara take off
Vistara is in the air for its first flight to Singapore. Photo: Vistara

Indian full-service carrier Vistara is taking off for Singapore today. In fact, at the time of publication, the aircraft should just be pushing back at Delhi! This is Vistara’s first international flight and an important milestone for the ambitious carrier.

Along with the launch of their Singapore flights, Vistara has announced a deeper codeshare with parent Singapore Airlines and their subsidiary SilkAir. The carrier has also recently announced no less than two new international destinations, both due to be launched by the end of the month. It seems that the demise of Jet Airways has been nothing but good news for this rapidly expanding airline.

Codeshare expansion with SIA and SilkAir

As part of its push to break into the international market, Vistara has announced a deepening of its codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. Chief Strategy Officer at the carrier, Vinod Kannan, is quoted by Business Traveler as saying,

“Vistara found its first codeshare partners in Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, and now we are further expanding the agreement to international flights with them. We are happy to deepen this strategic partnership which means a more seamless flying experience for travelers from India to destinations across Asia, Oceania, and the United States.”

As reported in Business Traveler, this expansion means that Singapore Airlines will place the SQ code on Vistara’s international flights. Both Singapore and SilkAir will add nine new codeshare destinations inside of India on Vistara metal. Vistara will add its own code on flights between Singapore and eight destinations within India. This move brings the total codeshare destinations with Singapore and SilkAir to more than 40!

VIstara on board
Vistara aims to offer full-service comforts. Photo: Vistara

Vistara’s market share in India has been gradually creeping up since the demise of Jet Airways. Although the bulk of the gap has been plugged by Indian aviation giant Indigo, who reportedly snagged a record 49.9% of the market share in May, the other native carriers have been benefitting from the loss of Jet too.

In May, Vistara recorded an all-time high market share of 4.7%. That might not sound like a lot, but in the saturated Indian domestic market, that’s a solid performance from the newcomer. Their efforts to become an international airline will offer up new opportunities in a space that is perhaps not quite so crowded.

The rise and rise of Vistara

Vistara, a joint venture by TATA sons and Singapore Airlines, has only been around a short while but is already making its mark on Indian aviation. Taking its first flight in 2015, the carrier slowly nibbled away at the domestic Indian market, carrying two million passengers by June 2016.

India does not allow airlines to fly internationally until they have more than 20 aircraft in their fleets. Vistara achieved this in June 2018, when the 21st aircraft, an Airbus A320neo, arrived in Delhi. Vistara applied for permission to fly internationally which was eventually granted in March 2019.

However, as Jet Airways stopped operations, Vistara had an opportunity to snag some much-needed slots at Mumbai airport. Previously an all A320 family airline, the carrier took on six of Jet Airways’ 737-800s and began operating new routes from Mumbai using Jet’s old slots.

Vistara airliner on ground
Vistara is still a relative newcomer. Photo: Vistara

With domestic affairs taken care of, Vistara turned its attention to their international game plan once more. In April, it was announced that the carrier would start flying to Colombo in September this year. However, just days after the announcement, the Easter terrorist attack on churches and hotels meant Colombo was no longer an attractive first international destination.

Vistara’s decision to begin its international service to Singapore is somewhat playing it safe. It’s not particularly underserved from India, but with their codeshare in place with parent SIA, they have a great opportunity to offer flights to a multitude of destinations on a single itinerary.

What next for Vistara?

With the maiden Singapore service under their belt, Vistara has wasted no time in announcing more routes and services in the coming months. This first international flight from Delhi to Singapore will be joined by a second flight to Singapore tomorrow, this time from Mumbai. Although both are being operated by ex-Jet Airways 737s at the moment, they will be swapped out for Vistara’s new A321neos when they are delivered later this year.

Their second international destination, announced yesterday and reported by Live From A Lounge, will be Dubai. Flights will operate daily between Mumbai and Dubai using the A320neo. Flights will launch on 21st August 2019 and will see Vistara become the first carrier to offer a premium economy product between the two cities.

Today, they announced a third destination – Bangkok. The Times of India reports that a Delhi to Bangkok service will begin on August 27th, operating daily using an A320neo also. Their CEO Leslie Thng is reported as saying,

“Bangkok is a city that remains to be a favorite among travelers all year long. As a key gateway to Thailand, Bangkok continues to boost international commerce, trade and tourism in the country, making the business case more promising for us.”

While the future of Jet Airways still hangs in the balance, their demise couldn’t have come at a better time for Vistara. Bolstered by new slots at Mumbai and a fleet of 737 aircraft, the carrier has been able to step on the gas and accelerate its plans for full service, international domination from India.