Vistara leases six aircraft from BOC Aviation to accelerate domestic expansion

Vistara announced Friday it has leased six aircraft from Singapore-based BOC Aviation to boost its domestic growth and will deploy them to meet the "sudden drop" in capacity in the market.

Vistara has leased four Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft to be delivered in May 2019 and two Airbus A320neo powered by CFM LEAP 1A engines, scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2019, it said in a statement.At present, the full-service carrier connects 24 destinations, operates over 850 flights a week served by a fleet of 22 Airbus A320 aircraft.The airline said it has recruited nearly 500 former employees of Jet Airways, including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other staff to support the next phase of expansion of its domestic operations.

Due to acute lack of funds, Jet Airways suspended its operations on April 17, leaving more than 20,000 employees in the lurch.Leslie Thng, chief executive officer of Vistara, said, "Our focus on serving the domestic market has remained unwavering even as we prepare to become an international airline. These leased aircraft will be deployed to meet the sudden drop in capacity in the market and to aid convenience of travellers."

Thng said the decision to induct different aircraft type in Vistara fleet is a carefully evaluated one, which is both economically and commercially viable, and will eventually help in expanding the airline across India.

In March, Civil Aviation Secretary P S Kharola said Vistara has been given permission to operate international flights.Vistara’s relationship with BOC Aviation dates back to 2014, when the airline announced to lease its first 20 Airbus A320 family aircraft.Last year, for its domestic, short-haul and medium-haul international operations, Vistara placed an aircraft order of a combination of purchased and leased aircraft totalling 50 from the Airbus A320neo family (including the A321neo), with deliveries scheduled between 2019 and 2023.

Additionally, the airline has purchased six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that are to be delivered between 2020 and 2021 and will be used for long-haul international operations.While Vistara has 5.17 per cent share in the domestic passenger market, low-cost carrier IndiGo has solidified its position as the leader with 49.9 per cent share, according to the monthly traffic data released by DGCA on Wednesday.

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