Vistara Plans Boeing 787 Flights To The United States Via London

Vistara’s entry into the US could start with a one-stop flight. According to a recent report, Vistara has secured slots to connect New Delhi with Newark via London Gatwick. If the plan sees the light of day, the airline will deploy its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route, which is capable of non-stop flights from India to the US. So why a stop at Gatwick? Let’s find out.

Vistara 787-9
Vistara is considering flying to the US with a stopover in London, according to a report. Photo: Vistara

Delhi-Newark service

As noted by PaxEx.Aero, Vistara is looking into a possible route between Delhi and Newark via London. The report cites data from the latest regulatory filings for slots at London’s Gatwick Airport, which indicates a Delhi-Gatwick-Newark route for Vistara.

The full-service Indian carrier has enough slots to operate flights on this route three times a week in each direction. However, even though Vistara may have secured the slots to run such a flight, whether it will go ahead with the plan remains to be seen. Only an official announcement from the carrier would put to rest any speculation.

Vistara Boeing 787 Getty
Data from the latest regulatory filings for slots at London’s Gatwick Airport suggests a Delhi-Gatwick-Newark route for Vistara. Photo: Getty Images

Why via London?

Vistara also had slots at Gatwick last winter but couldn’t utilize them. But why would the carrier consider flying to the US via London? On the surface, it seems like a fifth freedom flight, but that might not be the case here.

According to PaxEx.Aero, Vistara’s 787-9 airplanes have limited crew rest facilities for an ultra-long-haul flight to the US. Therefore, a stopover city (in this case, London) would be required for Vistara to swap crew for the onward flight to Newark.

If the carrier decides to go ahead with this route, it’ll be interesting to see how it performs, particularly when there are multiple non-stop flight options between India and the US. Air India, the carrier with most flights between the two countries, recently added more flights to the US.

United, too, offers non-stop connections from Delhi to Newark, Chicago, and San Francisco, and American Airlines will also jump into the fray pretty soon.

Vistara Plans Boeing 787 Flights To The United States Via London
Vistara has been eyeing the US for a while and got the clearance to fly into the country this August. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

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All clear for US flights

Vistara is firmly committed to long-haul flying. Since the start of the pandemic, the carrier has flown to many international destinations, such as London, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Dubai, and Male. It will soon add Paris to the list, with flights beginning in November.

The carrier is very keen to deploy its Dreamliners to the US as well. In April this year, Vistara filed with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking a foreign air carrier permit to run flights to the United States. In June, the DOT granted tentative approval for the airline to fly into the country, and in August, Vistara got an official nod from the DOT for its US operations.

Initially, the carrier wanted to start US flights by September, but Covid-induced restrictions and border closures delayed the plan. While no official announcement has been made by the airline regarding its US flights, it’ll be good to have one more airline catering to the massive demand for flights between the two countries.

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