Vistara eyes London, Australia with new Boeing 787 fleet

New Boeing jets ignite bold globe-striding ambitions for the Singapore Airlines-backed Indian airline.

By David Flynn, March 3 2020
Vistara eyes London, Australia with new Boeing 787 fleet

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.

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.

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.”

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

“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.

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.

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.

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.

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.

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 business class.

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.

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 premium economy.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 premium economy.

In addition to a 13-inch touchscreen display, each premium economy passenger also gets their own AC and USB power outlets.

Vistara's Boeing 787-9 premium economy.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 premium economy.

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's Boeing 787-9 economy class.
Vistara's Boeing 787-9 economy class.

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.”

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2014

Total posts 146

Since QF dropped BNE-SIN-DEL in roughly 2013 I think, I remember seeing articles mentioning BNE is the biggest unserved destination out of Delhi. We could potentially see BNE as their first destination into the Australian maker.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 682

Given the Australian Indian diaspora is largest in Melbourne, you would expect them to probably look there first. SQ already offers lots of options to India via SIN. QF used to run a successful scissor hub with Jet Airways in SIN but hasn't found a replacement since Jet's demise and, given the SQ linkage, Vistara probably won't be it either.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 142

Cathay was the main replacement after Jet. Note quite as convenient as SIN as a transit of course. This however, has obviously been hampered with the protests and COVID19

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 211

QF also sells some SQ connecting (interline) options via SIN on their website.

No FF/Status credits (on the SIN-India legs) if a QFF, but it is a valid interline option.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 242

"We could potentially see BNE as their first destination into the Australian maker"

I would expect them to target Melbourne or Sydney before they target Brisbane, simply because of the large Indian population in both cities.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 682

Looks great and, not surprisingly, largely echoes SQ's 787 product except for the addition of Premium Economy. Since the demise of Jet Airways, there has not been a quality Indian international product.

Vistara is probably the biggest chance of new direct routes into India being opened up from Australia. Given the SQ link, it is likely that a VA codeshare would also be added to these services. Until this happens, the best way to India remains SQ via SIN or Sri Lankan via Colombo.

The seat used by Vistara and Singapore Airlines is actually the STELIA Symphony - not the STELIA Opal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 211

Seeing that Virgin and Vistara doesn't have a current interline, I can't see any UK/VA "relationship" going past an interline at best, despite both sharing a common shareholder (SQ). I would think UK would interline with both Australian carriers for connections.

As for underserved routes, the biggest hint would be yields. Being undeserved doesn't necessarily mean they'll earn profits either right off (or a few months) after starting, taking into consideration start-up costs and contracts.

As for UK's expansion into Australia, it'll be more likely they'll be chasing the larger ex-pat markets (MEL) before going after the other markets (SYD and BNE). At most UK would sort an interline with both QF and VA for connections from the other capital cities to their first Australian port when the time comes.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 240

The West Australian government is pushing an Indian airline to fly direct to Perth. Could this be them?

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

ONE WORLD still having MH and UL to connect to India via KUL or CMB from Australia to not loosing status points... actually, I will use any airline to India but AI... Low cost carriers are even better than AI. I hope QF could restart some flights to DEL or BLR or BOM and maybe do some codeshare agreements with Low cost carrier INDIGO that is way much better than AI... Also can connect with BA at those points for UK

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 50

Maybe another Kangaroo Route option one day. Looks good


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