India’s Vistara plans to step onto the global stage, with its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners setting course for Australia, Europe and London over the next 12 months.
The joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines will begin flying its first Boeing 787-9 between Delhi and Mumbai this month, before the arrival of a second Dreamliner by the end of March opens up longer international routes. Two more will roll into Vistara hangars by December, with the full fleet of six Boeing 787-9s in place by May 2021.
London sits near the top of Vistara’s Dreamliner destination list, says CEO Leslie Thng, alongside an unspecified city in the Far East region.
“London will be one of the destinations, whether first or second,” Thng said at a media event in Delhi overnight. “Let us see which will fall in our lap first.”
Thng has previously remarked that “we do have plans to eventually fly to Australia.”
Vistara is eager to position itself as a high-end alternative to troubled flag carrier Air India, with Thng welcoming the Boeing 787-9 as a “milestone (which) reflects Vistara’s deep-rooted commitment to providing our customers with a premium travel experience like no other carrier in India.”
“This magnificent aircraft signals the advent of world-class air travel for millions of Indians, and it also tells the world that Vistara has arrived”, echoed Vistara chairman Bhaskar Bhat.
Founded in 2015, the Delhi-based Vistara has to date flown only single-aisle jets such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 series, with six Airbus A321neo jets due over the next 18 months.
Inside Vistara's Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Vistara’s Boeing 787-9 notches up several firsts for an Indian airline, including the debut of inflight WiFi and premium economy.
For business class, Vistara settled on the same seat as used by Singapore Airlines for medium-range ‘regional business class’ on its Boeing 787-10s and selected Airbus A350s: the Symphony, from Stelia Aerospace.
Each of the 30 leather-clad seats pairs direct aisle access with a good degree of privacy and personal space, and converts into a fully lie-flat bed.
The seats are a nominal 20 inches wide, with an extra six inches once the armrest is lowered, and face an 18-inch HD video screen.
The 21 premium economy seats, ranked in three rows of 2-3-2 in a dedicated cabin, are 19 inches wide, with a 38-inch pitch, 7-inch recline, a calf rest and extendable footrest.
In addition to a 13-inch touchscreen display, each premium economy passenger also gets their own AC and USB power outlets.
There are no surprises in Vistara’s Boeing 787-9 economy cabin, with 248 17-inch wide seats arrayed in rows of 3-3-3, with 31 inches of pitch, five inches of recline, 12-inch video screens with their own USB charging sockets, and shared AC outlets.
Vistara is also spruiking a ‘Human Centric Lighting’ system which sets the LED cabin lighting scheme to “incorporate the chronobiological impact, corporate design and effect on colours and materials used in the cabin.”
“By adjusting light colour and intensity throughout flights, it helps travellers to adjust their sleep schedules and arrive well-rested and feeling less jet-lagged.”