Vistara, the full-service airline owned by Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, is eyeing direct flights to the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes demand for non-stop travel, a senior executive said on Friday, November 20.
While the specific timeframe and aircraft requirements are yet to be finalized, Vistara is studying various scenarios for starting direct flights, Vinod Kannan, chief commercial officer, told Reuters in an interview.
By mid-2023, Vistara expects 20 percent to 30 percent of its total seat capacity to be deployed on international routes from less than 10 percent last year.
Its fleet is expected to grow to 70 planes from 47 to 48 planes by the end of the current fiscal year, he said.
Currently, flag-carrier Air India is the only Indian airline that offering direct flights to the United States.
“This means there is definitely an opportunity…to fly direct to the US, and it is an opportunity we are looking at,” Kannan said.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Vistara flew to destinations like Bangkok and Singapore and had plans to start flying to Japan and Europe. Its international flights are currently limited to destinations like London and Dubai.
It is in talks to start flights to Paris and Frankfurt under the same bilateral agreement, Kannan said.