Vistara launches second international widebody destination

Vistara – the TATA SIA joint venture has been very unlucky with its widebody presence. The airline received the first of the six B787-9 Dreamliner on order in the last days of February – when the world was already heading into a lockdown. The very next month, India went into a lockdown – it was preceded by a complete closure of international air services. With two wide bodies in its fleet now, the airline started operating services to London Heathrow – from Delhi, which was quickly supplemented with services from Mumbai. 

The airline is currently operating twice a week to London Heathrow from New Delhi and thrice a week from Mumbai. For the current week there are 19 flights between Delhi and London while only 16 between Mumbai and London. 

Starting today, the airline has launched twice weekly flights to Frankfurt, Germany. This will be operated under the air bubble agreement between India and Germany. The city is one of the business hubs in Germany. Frankfurt airport is the busiest airport in Germany and amongst the top five in Europe. The airport serves as a hub for German carrier Lufthansa – which is a codeshare partner of Vistara. The airline will operate from Terminal 1 at Frankfurt which is the hub of Lufthansa and partner airlines.

UK025 DEL0330 – 0755FRA

UK026 FRA1240 – 0050(+1)DEL

Flights will operate on Thursdays and Saturdays. Vistara has configured its aircraft with 299 seats. The three-class configuration will comprise 30 Business Class seats in 1-2-1 (6 rows), 21 Premium Economy class seats in 2-3-2 (3 rows) and 248 Economy seats. The first flight is being operated by VT-TSD.

The airline launched international flights in August 2019 but has had little time to stabilise since then, primarily due to the pandemic. 

Network Thoughts

At 3311 nautical miles / 6132 kms, the Delhi – Frankfurt route is a potential candidate for the A321XLR which IndiGo will induct in a few years time. With a range of 4700 nautical miles or 8700 kms, the A321XLR could upset the plans for quite a few players worldwide.

As per Routes Online, Frankfurt is the fourth largest Origin – Destination (O-D) market from Delhi based on 2019 data. London, Paris and Milan occupy the first three spots. Vistara will have to compete with codeshare partner Lufthansa on this route which operates at similar timings and Air India which also operates a daily flight to Frankfurt in normal times. Additionally, Lufthansa operates a daily flight to Munich from Delhi in normal times. 

The timings are very much similar to those of Lufthansa on the route. Overall timings could see a change based on the airlines future expansion plans and slots it manages to get across airports so that an effective hub starts building up at Delhi. The route is poised for some interesting future and more so if the TATA group bags Air India.

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