Vistara’s long-drawn-out process for selecting an aircraft for their long-haul international operations seem to be coming to a close. What we know so far is that Vistara last year decided to rush deliveries of their narrowbody aircraft to go international flying. The airline has also confirmed that second half of 2018 they will start to fly internationally.
At the moment, the airline has 20 aircraft in their fleet, and their 21st Airbus A320 family aircraft just took its first flight in Toulouse, so it should be delivered within a month or so to Vistara. That means the first flights with a narrowbody aircraft could start anytime after. The airline was almost always designed with an international audience in mind, that is the reason the Premium Economy exists in the plane, is my personal view.
A few months ago, Vistara CSCO teased us with a picture of a comparison between the Boeing and Airbus widebodies, telling us about the consideration set. He later deleted it. But it definitely confirmed the 787 being in their consideration set.
In India, we have usually seen airlines to stick with their airframe manufacturers once they make a choice. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, we don’t see IndiGo moving away from Airbus, and we don’t see Jet Airways moving away from Boeing. And why not? Pilots are not interoperable on Boeing or Airbus platforms, so, once you build a fleet you stick with it. An Airbus narrowbody captain could grow to a widebody and so on. That is the growth path you could show the team. But sometimes airlines go for mixed fleets as well. For instance, Jet Airways has A330s in their fleet for a specific mission, inducted at a time the 787 was not in the picture.
Now last week, we learned that Vistara may be looking to switch from an Airbus fleet to a Boeing fleet. We expected an order to come in but never expected them to switch fleets.
Yesterday late night, we seem to get a little more confirmation about the tilt towards Boeing that is setting in for Vistara. Via Bloomberg, we learn that Vistara is almost set to sign on for some Boeing 787 aircraft. The headline, though, in no unequivocal terms that they already may have made up their order.
Boeing Wins Dreamliner Order From Singapore Air’s India Affiliate
Vistara seems to have started small, opting for six Boeing 787 aircraft, along with 4 options. They haven’t decided between the 787-9 or the 787-10 yet, however. They will need it, of course, in line with their plans to serve the long-haul market of Europe and onwards.
Airbus, on the other hand, has been trying to make a market for the A330neo. The A330neo is a re-engined A330 and is trying to drum up orders, but Boeing is beating them hard on the price and is taking those customers away. Boeing already got Hawaiian Air to sway to the 787 after placing an order for the A330neo.
But there is a big order still out there. Airbus may be getting close to a large order from IndiGo, and most probably it could be the A330neo, given that it should be an early order to fill for IndiGo and the A320 crew should be easy to upgrade to the A330. That order, whenever it comes should be of a large quantity given it is not IndiGo’s style to go small.
The door is still open on Vistara’s long-term plans, and perhaps once they are able to confirm their launch routes, an order and so on, they will hold a presser to announce it themselves. Also, Farnborough is not too far off now. In the meanwhile, maybe it’s time to imagine what the 787 for Vistara would look like!
What do you think of Vistara’s International Ambitions? Where would all of you like them to fly?