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Vistara seeks permissions for flights to the United States

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, has filed a foreign air carrier permit to run flights to the United States with the US’ Department of Transportation (DOT).

The Indian full-service carrier is targeting a 1st September launch date for flights between India and the United States using Boeing B787-9 Dreamliners.

Presently, the airline has two Boeing B787-9 aircrafts in its fleet featuring 299 seats and it flies them to London and Frankfurt. In the near future, Vistara will take more Boeing B787 aircrafts to fuel long-haul international expansion plans.

The carrier did not specifically highlight where it wants to fly in the United States. However, there are multiple options for the airline. It can easily serve most points in the US from its hub at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Present scenario of flights between India and US

There is heavy traffic between the two countries. Presently, the only airlines flying nonstop between the two countries are Air India and United.

United serves Delhi with nonstop flights from Newark, San Francisco and Chicago while it serves Mumbai with a daily flight from Newark. On 27th May, the airline plans to launch flights between San Francisco and Bengaluru.

United serves India with 4 daily flights. Photo: United

Meanwhile, Air India has a much more expansive network in the US. From Delhi, the Indian national carrier flies to New York (JFK), Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. From Mumbai, the airline flies daily to Newark while from Hyderabad, Chicago receives a nonstop service from Air India.

Delta resumed flying to India with a service to Mumbai from New York (JFK). However, it ended those flights after retiring the only aircraft in its fleet that could fly the route. It has not released plans to return to India.

The latest US-based carrier to enter the Indian market will be American Airlines when it launches flights between Seattle and Bengaluru and New York (JFK) and Delhi.

American Airlines will launch flights to New Delhi and Bengaluru in India. Photo: OneWorld

Plenty of options for Vistara

Vistara has plenty of options for flights to the United States. The airline has a relationship with United Airlines and it also advertises an interlining partnership with Delta Air Lines, which could be expanded into a codeshare.

Vistara could fly to New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. or Seattle although New York and Chicago will be highly competitive routes. There is no nonstop flight to Boston or Seattle currently from India.

Mumbai has only two nonstop flights to the United States with both being to New York area. Vistara could use this as an opportunity by adding flights from India’s financial capital to points on the East Coast and potentially parts of the West Coast and Upper Midwest in the US.

While there is plenty of origin and destination nonstop demand on these points, the more connections Vistara offers, the better the chance it has to keep its planes full. As Delhi is a larger hub for Vistara than Mumbai, it would make more sense to operate flights out of Delhi to the US.

Currently, travel from the US to India is restricted. Vistara is likely hoping that there will be greater freedom of movement between the two countries by September.

Why you should be excited about this?

Vistara will be the second Indian carrier to offer nonstop flights to the United States. Vistara has far more better inflight products than its Indian competitor Air India.

Vistara’s Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner seats 299 passengers including 30 in business class, 21 in premium economy and 248 in standard economy class seats.

Vistara’s Business class is in a 1-2-1 configuration meaning direct aisle access for all business class passengers. The business class seats are the same as you would find on Singapore Airlines. The market between the USA and India could use more competition, and maybe this will mean that the tickets’ prices will be lower.

Featured image by Take Off With Guru

Are you excited to fly Vistara to the United States when it launches flights from India? Let me know in the comments section below.

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