Vistara planning service to New York via London in Winter 2021

Vistara had applied for approval to start services to the USA, which they recently got approval for. Now, with permissions granted in the USA, Vistara’s challenge is to activate this route. If they can get in, this route could become a hit, given the sparse non-stop capacity between India and the USA right now, with only Air India and United operating flights for the moment.

Vistara secures slots to Newark via London Gatwick

Vistara has been holding on slots at London Gatwick for a while. However, in the UK, they’ve always wanted to operate to London Heathrow. Those slots came their way as a part of flights conducted on a special “air bubble” lane between India (Delhi/Mumbai) and London Heathrow.

Now, Vistara has made some creative adjustments to their route plan, planning to use the slots at London Gatwick to launch flights to the USA. As per the ACL, the slot coordination authority for London Gatwick, apart from London Heathrow, Vistara, has now been granted 126 slots for arrival/departure from Delhi and New York Newark.

a screenshot of a data

ACL Website

This arrangement is clearly for a 299-seater Boeing 787-9, which Vistara operates on 9-10 hour routes.  Vistara does not have a plane at the moment which can do the non-stop flight to the United States purely because they decided not to install crew-rests on these initial six aircraft of theirs. They can still operate the flights with their current two 787-9 aircraft. However, they will need to assign some seats for crew/pilot rest in that case.

a map of the world

Map generated with

The routing on DEL-LGW-EWR is 7667 miles, which is longer than the direct heading of 7324 miles between the two stations. This development was first picked up by Paxex.Aero.

As I’ve mentioned before, Vistara has six 787-9 on order, out of which two have been already delivered to the airline. There are another two being tested in the USA right now. However, given an FAA order on quality issues with the 787 aircraft, Boeing is under embargo for delivering any further 787 jets to customers. Vistara has also not added to their 787 order at the moment, as the four options have not yet been confirmed.

The red herring here is that this route will need dedicated aircraft even if Vistara wants to operate the flight 3 days a week, which might mean they will have to kill their flights to Japan, France, Germany, and perhaps even England in the process. Or it might mean that instead of a technical stop, Vistara will move London operations to LGW (makes more sense to me!) and will pick up and drop customers along the way to London as well. What I don’t have clarity on right now, however, is if they will be able to access fifth freedom rights between Newark and London, which is something Jet Airways had (via Brussels, then Amsterdam Schiphol), and Air India has even now, even though they don’t use it anymore.

Now, Vistara has held the slots at London Gatwick for a long while, so this could just be some groundwork to no avail, or something really in the works. We will find out soon enough, I guess.

Vistara declined to comment on this development.


Vistara has moved forward to find a way to get to Newark without non-stop 787-9 aircraft, which they don’t have for now. This way is going to be one-stop via London Gatwick. Whether Vistara moves forward on launching this route remains to be seen.

What do you think of a Delhi-London Gatwick-Newark flight?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. This will most likely lead to a strengthening of the United-Vistara partnership. I 100% see Vistara joining Star Alliance within the next 2 years, especially considering that it has strong partnerships with United and Lufthansa, and also because it is half owned by Singapore Airlines.

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