Vistara, a joint entity owned by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines in a 51:49 stake, has taken delivery of India’s first Airbus A321LR (Long Range) aircraft. This airplane will enable the airline to explore new horizons as it looks to expand internationally.
India’s first A321LR comes home
On 4th February 2023, Vistara took delivery of its first Airbus A321LR aircraft, registered as VT-TVG. The arrival of this aircraft in Vistara’s fleet opens up new opportunities for the airline. The aircraft is a part of a 50-aircraft order placed by Vistara in 2018.
The Airbus A321LR is a long-range version of the A320neo family. The aircraft provides extended range of up to 4000 nautical miles by utilising extra fuel in three Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs).
Vistara’s A321LR is powered by CFM Leap-1A engines, the same engines found on Vistara’s A321neo aircraft.
We are excited to welcome our first A321LR to our growing fleet. This addition reiterates our stronger focus on international expansion, and enables us to offer longer range connectivity to our customers while also maintaining greater fuel efficiency.said Vinod Kannan, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara.
Vistara, which will soon be merged with Air India, is continuing to grow its fleet aggressively. The airline will continue to be operated independently until the merger. Vistara will have a fleet of 70 aircraft by the end of 2023 or by the 1st quarter of 2024.
Vistara’s A321LR features a total of 188 seats spread across three cabin classes. The Business Class cabin features 12 lie-flat seats in a 2-2 configuration while the Premium Economy cabin features 24 seats in a 3-3 configuration. There are 152 standard Economy Class seats.
All seats are equipped with 4-way adjustable headrests, in-seat power/USB charging ports, In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system featuring a multimedia library with up to 700 hours of content, and onboard Wi-Fi to accentuate the overall in-flight experience for the passengers.
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With its 4000 nautical miles range, A321LR opens up new opportunities for any airline, providing the perfect opportunity to explore underserved and thin routes (low-traffic routes) which are very small for wide-body aircraft but are perfect for narrow-body aircraft like the A321LR which offers better fuel efficiency, better noise reduction and low carbon emissions.
There has been a buzz in the past few days that Vistara is looking to start flights to Mauritius and Nairobi.
Mauritius and Nairobi are easily achievable from Mumbai with A321LR. If Vistara wants to put the aircraft to good use and send the aircraft to its length (it will certainly want that), then opening new routes like these will be the best thing that Vistara can do.
The airline is increasing focusing on expanding internationally from Mumbai. Recently, the airline started (or will start) flights from Mumbai to Jeddah, Dammam, Muscat etc.
Mauritius is mainly a tourists-targeted market. The airline will have to focus on domestic-international and international-domestic connectivity from/to its entire Indian network for its passengers if it wants to work out the Mauritius option. Currently, Air Mauritius flies to Mumbai using its Airbus A330 fleet.
As far as Nairobi goes, it’s a large market, with Kenya Airways operating Nairobi-Mumbai route twice-daily. This is a mixed market, with tourists and business travellers both frequenting the route. One problem Vistara will face on this route is that IndiGo is also looking to launch this route and the sudden rise in capacity will mean that the market will take time to absorb the sudden increase in capacity.
It will remain to be seen how Vistara uses its newest aircraft and whether or not these rumours are true.
Meanwhile, Vistara recently announced that it will start flying to Goa’s new airport.
Featured image by Vistara
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