Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan expects Boeing to deliver the airline’s remaining 787 Dreamliners sometime next year. The Indian carrier has pinned its hopes on the 787s for international long-haul expansion and has had to delay certain routes because of a lack of more widebody aircraft. Kannan, however, is hopeful that more Dreamliners will join the carrier’s fleet in 2022, according to Boeing’s revised schedule.
Vistara is expecting Boeing to deliver its remaining Dreamliners next year. Photo: Vistara
waiting four Dreamliners
In 2018, Vistara ordered 19 airplanes from both Airbus and Boeing, six of which were firm orders for the 787-9 Dreamliners with the option of buying four more from the 787 series. The airline received its first 787 in March 2020 when COVID-19 had already begun to tighten its grip on many countries and sent chills across the aviation sector.
Despite the pandemic, the carrier remained committed to its overseas expansion program, launching flights to many destinations including the UK, Germany, France, and, for a short while, to Japan. But interestingly enough, it hasn’t been COVID to hamper Vistara’s network expansion but production delays of the 787 itself.
Vistara is making ample use of its two Dreamliners, flying them to European destinations. Photo: Getty Images
Vistara was supposed to receive the remaining planes this year, but they’re now scheduled to leave the Boeing factory sometime next year. Mint recently quoted Kannan expressing hopes of inducting the remaining Dreamliners according to the new schedule,
“We are hoping to get four Boeing 787 planes during 2022. According to the original schedule, these planes were supposed to be delivered to Vistara in 2021. However, this was delayed for various reasons.”
Eyeing the United States
Vistara is well aware of the importance of having the US on its network map. Non-stop flights between India and US have always been in demand but more so now as a direct consequence of the pandemic. The emergence of new variants, sudden red listing of countries, and ever-changing border policies have had passengers queueing up for non-stop Air India, United, and American Airlines flights to the US.
The 787-9 aligns perfectly with Vistara’s US plans with its long range capable of connecting the country’s east and west coast with major Indian destinations. The carrier is busy completing all the paperwork and applying for necessary approvals, but it’s essentially the delivery of the Dreamliners that is currently dictating its US plans.
Vistara needs at least one more 787-9 to kickstart its US operations. Photo: Getty Images
The carrier’s two 787s simply cannot shoulder the task of covering Europe and the US. Just the addition of a third Dreamliner would be enough to kickstart Vistara’s US operations. While speaking with Simple Flying last month, Kannan said,
“Flying into the US requires a whole host of approvals, there’s the approval required from the FAA, the DoT, the TSA, so there are multiple agencies that are involved, and all those things are now being worked upon…We will [also] have to wait to see when we get the third aircraft before adding any additional routes because we don’t have the aircraft resources at this time.”
Given the passenger appetite for flights between India and the US and skyrocketing ticket prices for non-stop connections, it’s not just Vistara awaiting the Dreamliners, but plenty of travelers as well.