India’s Vistara says it has applied to launch international services, and is awaiting the government’s approval.
In a televised interview with local media, chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor says the carrier is able to mount international services “within a few weeks” from receiving approval.
He did not disclose Vistara’s first international destination, but chief executive Leslie Thng has previously said that this will be a medium-haul route of between five and nine hours.
Kapoor adds that the carrier will add “about 10-odd” aircraft this year, along with several new domestic points.
Local media reports also quote Kapoor as saying that the airline’s first widebody will arrive “a year from now”. Vistara has six Boeing 787-9s on order.
Kapoor adds that the carrier is expecting “a more stable” 2019 after the Indian aviation market endured a “tough period” last year.
“Our plan [for growth] is [to be] slow and steady. We know it’s a long-term game. The key metrics are moving in the right direction. The oil prices were a concern, but they have come back a little bit. The currency rate is still a bit of a concern, but we think there’s some pricing discipline in the market, yields are up and things are looking like they are going in the right direction.”
Flight Fleets Analzyer shows that Vistara operates 22 Airbus A320-family aircraft, and has 47 other aircraft on order. These comprise of 35 Airbus 320neos, six A321neos and the six 787-9s.
New Delhi had in 2016 relaxed regulations for Indian airlines to fly internationally, removing the mandatory requirement to be in operation for a period of five years with 20 aircraft in its fleet. Carriers today only need to fulfill the basic fleet requirement before applying for international routes.