Vistara – the TATA SIA JV which will be merged with Air India by March next year is set to launch flights to Mauritius. The airline will operate five times a week, starting Mar 26, 2023; from Mumbai – which will further strengthen its Mumbai hub.
The airline has been connecting more international destinations from Mumbai, though the capacity by ASK is higher from Delhi, as the three Dreamliners are based there – operating to London-Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris.
The flights to Mauritius will operate as per below timings
UK241 BOM0730 – 1200MRU
UK242 MRU1330 – 2100BOM
Flights will operate on all days except Tuesdays and Thursdays and operated by the A321LR – the first of which was recently inducted in its fleet. The aircraft is also the first A321LR in India. The A321LR has an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 97 tonnes and a third auxiliary center fuel tank helping it cover a longer range. The great circle distance between Mumbai and Mauritius is 4675 kms.
The simplest way to understand where the A321LR stands is to look at this tweet from Sisira Kanta Dash – the Head of Engineering at Vistara.
Read: More destinations from Mumbai, higher capacity from Delhi – A look at Vistara’s international operations
The island of Mauritius is towards the eastern coast of Africa and is created by volcanic activity. The country is a stable democracy, does not require visa pre-departure for Indians and is a tourist heaven. Over a period of time, the country moved from agrarian economy to a services led economy with tourism being a special focus area.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (IATA: MRU) is the main gateway to the country and located a few kilometres outside capital Port Louis and is one of the two airports in the country. The airport serves as the hub for local carrier Air Mauritius which operates to India. The airline currently operates six times a week to Mumbai and is likely to restart Delhi operations in Summer. The airline also operated to Bengaluru and Chennai in the past.
With the launch of Mauritius, the airline strikes off another route and country where a foreign carrier operated but none of the Indian carriers did. The India – Mauritius Bilateral AIr Services Agreement (BASA) allows 14 weekly frequencies from each side and it’s far from being fully utilised.
Launching Dammam, returning to Colombo
The airline has already announced flights to Dammam, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This will be its second destination in KSA, having launched flights to Jeddah last year.
The flights will be operated Daily by three class A320neo at below timings
UK237 BOM2120 – 2310DMM
UK238 DMM2355 – 0615(+1)BOM
Vistara will see competition from IndiGo and FlyNas on this route.
The airline will also return to Colombo from March 01, 2023 with daily flights from Mumbai. The airline previously operated to Colombo from Mumbai and had launched flights in November 2019.
UK131 BOM0925 – 1200CMB
UK132 CMB1300 – 1525BOM
The economic issues in Sri Lanka had led to most airlines reducing their presence and restricting it from Chennai. IndiGo could likely return to the Mumbai – Colombo sector soon.
Overall, the addition of three new international destinations from Mumbai in just one month takes the total number of destinations served from Mumbai by Vistara to 12, as compared to seven from Delhi. Yet, capacity by ASK remains higher from Delhi – thanks to the three Dreamliners it deploys.
With more A321LRs on the way, the network expansion could see more additions with Nairobi already making a beeline online.
The summer schedule still seems to be a work in progress since the airline has not opened the sale of flights to Bangkok from Mumbai. The chart above could look different when the season actually starts.
The next dreamliner
The airline operated to Tokyo in the past but discontinued later, in favour of Frankfurt and Paris. With four more Dreamliners on the way, what could be its network plan? Will it return to Tokyo from Delhi or will it open a new base at Mumbai for the Dreamliners? During COVID and air bubbles, the airline did operate international flights from Mumbai with the Dreamliners.
If it does decide to start ops from Mumbai, the first preference indeed would be London-Heathrow, subject to slot availability. It would double its offering at Heathrow, along with having a strong presence as Air India post merger.I see the second option could be Paris – to swap the aircraft for operational rotation to Delhi – its engineering base. Swapping aircraft at a foreign base will allow the airline to fly the new route on all days of the week, without which it will need one day’s downtime to operate a domestic leg between Mumbai and Delhi to swap tails.
Vistara has a natural headstart on the Mumbai – Mauritius sector because of its timings. The flight timings are aligned around the check-in/check-out timings of the hotel industry and suit better for the tourists as compared to the timings of Air Mauritius.
While the airline has time and again said that it remains independent till it merges with Air India, it seems the airline is consciously adding capacity at Mumbai – where Air India is not as strong as Delhi.
2 thoughts on “Vistara further strengthens presence at Mumbai; to add three international destinations in March”
Yes , that’s the good news for air travelers , but not to forget that Vistara and all other domestic airlines are yet to fully cover Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities & I am speaking about my city of Rajkot which is left out from Vistara’s network expansion.
If this message is read by Airline lovers like me across this fraternity let me share that even though there has been announcement in recent budget that India is to see new 50 airports , and again Boeing is expecting India’s aircraft order upto 2000 by 2040 , I think speed and scale is lacking in India’s Civil Aviation sector. I have been in this industry since almost three decades and would like to share my views and analysis with anyone interested in field.
It’s just meaningless to add LHR or CDG for any airline from India especially from DEL or BOM. It’s just sheep heads that keep doubling down on same routes until the destination becomes unprofitable. Premium pricing is important. Indian carriers need to focus on multiple hubs with destination rotation. Air India had a nice thing going between Europe and BKK on both sides. That made possible by DEL-BKK-BOM-BKK-DEL. Similar schedule possible for SIN, SYD, MEL.