Vistara, India’s premium airline carrier has announced to push back the launch of its US services despite getting clearance to start flight operations to the United States. The company has been forced to delay the operations as deliveries of their remaining four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner dual-aisle long haul aircrafts remains on FAA-mandated pause. While Vistara ordered 6 of these aircrafts, only 2 are delivered and both are currently deployed on other long-haul routes. Until the new aircraft is received, Vistara won’t be able to start flights to the lucrative US market.
In a statement to Mint, CCO Vinod Kannan said, “We have received approvals for US flights. But we will have to see when we can receive the third aircraft, and only after that can we do a more comprehensive kind of expansion plan. At present, London, Tokyo, Frankfurt flights, and occasional domestic and charters are using up the aircraft (Boeing 787) time.”
Vistara recently received the official all-clear from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for a foreign air carrier permit. Vistara was granted the final approval to conduct flights between the US and India.
Vistara will retain its potential to provide international carrier services between the US and India as long as it complies with regulations proposed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and DOT.
This involves complying with DOT regulations with respect to passenger services and refunds, safety and security guidelines, among others. Towards the end of April, Vistara first applied for permission to operate US flights. The tentative approval was granted in June.
Presently, the US maintains a travel ban for foreign natives travelling from India with COVID-19 in mind. The exception is for US citizens and their families, students and legal permanent residents. The airline could initiate operations to stops like Dallas, Miami, Houston, with a stop in Europe or Canada if granted fifth-freedom route access.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of one-stop options between the US and India. Vistara can exercise a possibility to partner with United. The two carriers have a codeshare relationship at the moment that gives United more connectivity within India. Both the airlines may gain from expanding their partnership.