Not content with just increasing frequency on its existing network, Vistara is said to be eyeing direct routes to the US. The carrier is looking to take advantage of growing travel demand and the increasing popularity of travel bubbles to increase its network.
Details for the airline’s US plans are still scarce. Reuters reports that a senior executive at the airline confirmed that it is still looking at options. Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan said that the airline had not confirmed any routes, aircraft, or even a specific timeframe.
With the ongoing pandemic, direct, non-stop flights are seeing increased demand as passengers remain concerned about layovers and the increased risk of coming in contact with the virus. Vistara seems keen to exploit this demand as its fleet grows. By the end of 2023, the airline aims to have almost doubled the size of its fleet from around 42 up to 70.
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Vistara’s rapid growth
And the airline has international aims. Earlier this year, it announced it would take advantage of the travel bubble between the UK and India. Vistara increased its Delhi to London service from four times per week to a daily service. Additionally, the airline recently launched a route to Doha in the Middle East, again under a recent travel bubble. According to the Reuters report, Vistara expects up to 30% of its capacity to be international routes by 2023. Currently, just 10% is international.
Vistara is positioning itself well to take advantage of both long-haul direct flights and shorter connecting routes. With a fleet of mainly Boeing 787-9, Airbus A320neos, and A321neos, the airline’s recent growth looks set to continue. Of course, the global pandemic has certainly slowed Vistara’s plans.
Connecting the US to India
While the airline might be hoping to launch a direct route, both the US and India are still seeing large numbers of COVID-19. Despite this, a survey carried out by Vistara saw the US named as one of the most popular destinations to travel to before August 2021. In the survey, Singapore, Dubai, the US, the UK, and Thailand were Vistara customers’ destinations of choice.
It comes as no surprise then that the airline is looking to operate flights to the US. According to the survey of 63% of people want to fly before February 2021. With a growing fleet and a clear demand, it won’t be a surprise if the new year brings new Vistara routes to the US.
At present, United Airlines and Air India operate nine direct routes. Between them, they connect Delhi and Mumbai with New York, Washington, San Francisco, and Chicago. United is also set to ramp up its India services over the next year.
What do you think of Vistara’s plans? Will we see a Vistara flight to the US soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.