In a major expansion bid, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines’ joint venture, Vistara, has placed an order for 50 Airbus A320neos and A321neos airliners also for six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. This is the first major order by the airline since launch of operations in 2015. While the airline has signed an agreement with Airbus for 13 A320neos, it will lease 37 aircraft. Additionally, the airline has kept the option open to order four more Dreamliners from Boeing. Chief Executive Officer Leslie Thng said he was convinced that the order would provide a fillip for profitable operations as it would enable the airline to make its network denser and operate on more profitable international routes. “We will use the A320 and A321 to boost our domestic network as well as to launch international destinations from our hub in Delhi. Simultaneously, the Dreamliners would be used to start destinations on the medium and long-haul international routes,” Thng said. The first batch of the single-aisle A320neo would be delivered in the first half of 2019, while the Dreamliners would join the fleet in the first half of 2020. It currently has a fleet of 21 A320 planes.
Operating in one of the world’s most price-sensitive markets, Vistara is yet to become profitable and has been able to corner only four per cent of the domestic market. Last year, the airline earned 3.36 per seat per km, while spending 4.69 for the same. In comparison, low-cost airline IndiGo, which commands 40 per cent share of the market, spent 3.04 to earn 3.40.