Tata SIA Airlines operating as Vistara will induct four Boeing 737-800 new generation planes by end of May, thus becoming a mixed fleet airline operating both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
Tata SIA Airlines operating as Vistara will induct four Boeing 737-800 new generation planes by end of May, thus becoming a mixed fleet airline operating both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The airline currently operates 850 flights a week by a fleet of 22 Airbus A320 aircraft.
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"Our decision to induct a different aircraft type in our fleet is a carefully evaluated one, which is both, economically and commercially viable, and will eventually help us take the Vistara experience wider and deeper across markets in India," Leslie Thng, chief executive officer, Vistara, said.
In order to support a different aircraft type, the joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines has also hired 500 former employees of Jet Airways.
"In order to support the next phase of expansion of its domestic operations, Vistara has recruited nearly 500 former employees of Jet Airways, including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other staff," the airline said.
The daring move of having a mixed fleet has often brought its share of troubles for an airline as two different manufacturers would mean two different kinds of engineering and maintenance, leading to complexities of operations. Indian aviation has more than one example of it, be it Air India or Jet Airways.
However, Vistara had chosen to take the brave decision last year when it purchased six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, scheduled to be delivered between 2020 and 2021. These will be used for long-haul international operations.
Now, with Jet Airways' interim suspension of operations, a lot of Jet's planes have been de-registered by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and are up for grabs. Vistara's four Boeing 737 aircraft are from this pool of ex-Jet Airways planes. SpiceJet has been the biggest gainer here with having signed up for 22 of these.
Other than the 4 Boeing, Vistara will also induct two Airbus A320neo powered by CM LEAP 1A engines, scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2019.
"Our focus on serving the domestic market has remained unwavered even as we prepare to become an international airline. These leased aircraft will be deployed to meet the sudden drop in capacity in the market and to aid convenience of travellers," Thng added.
In July last year, Vistara had signed a letter of intent with Airbus for 13 firm orders of A320neo and A321neo aircraft, as well as options for seven more aircraft from the A320neo family.
In addition, Vistara had also said that it will lease another 37 new A320neo-family aircraft from leasing companies. Together, Vistara planned to add a total of 50 A320neo-family aircraft into its existing fleet for domestic India as well as short and medium-haul international operations.