Last year (2019), Vistara made a big splash by deciding to induct Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet after the government decided that new slots were only going to be given away to Indian airlines which would show new capacity induction, and not just rejig older routes to grab new slots. Given Vistara’s new A320 aircraft were not slotted to be delivered before the last quarter of 2019, Vistara figured they would add used aircraft on lease to show this increased capacity.
Since there were only Boeing 737 aircraft available on short notice in India (ex Jet Airways airframes), Vistara made a bold move of inducting 737 aircraft for the time being while their own aircraft would have not flown in from Airbus. After all, they had to induct these aircraft and press them into service within a month.
Over a period of time, Vistara inducted 9 737 aircraft on various short term lease tenures and inducted ex-Jet Airways cabin crew, flight crew, engineers and others. They also leased an A320neo airframe which is fully economy class configured and used to be operated by WOWAir earlier. These inductions helped them launch flights across the country, but largely build a big presence out of Mumbai, which was always on the wishlist of Vistara, but the airline was not able to get any slots due to none being available. Vistara, for instance, took over 5 daily frequencies to Bangalore from Mumbai.
Now, with Vistara moving forward on inducting their Airbus A320neo aircraft, and having already inducted all 9 of the new aircraft intended to be inducted during October 2019 – March 2020, the airline has now started to release some of the old 737s. Here are the induction lists of all the Airbus A320neos from the new order:
- VT-TNL (October 2019)
- VT-TNM (November 2019)
- VT-TNP (October 2019)
- VT-TNQ (October 2019)
- VT-TNR (October 2019)
- VT-TNS (December 2019)
- VT-TNU (November 2019)
- VT-TNV (November 2019)
- VT-TNW (December 2019)
Moving forward, Vistara will induct two of their 787-9 aircraft and at least one A321neo aircraft during 2020 quarter one 2020.
With the newer aircraft being inducted, Vistara has started to let go some of their Boeing 737 aircraft. The first two aircraft being pulled out of service will be in January 2020, and the Vistara inflight magazine has already reduced the count by 2 to reflect 7 Boeing 737 aircraft in January 2020.
The rest of the fleet is also intended to go away within the year. The first two aircraft which will fly away are VT-TGC and VT-TGF. [Update: Vistara will continue to have some 737 aircraft over the years, through at least 2023, as per industry sources]
Remember, Vistara was using the Boeing 737s to fly to Singapore before the newer higher MTOW A320Neos came into the fleet. With these Airbus aircraft having taken over the Singapore route, Vistara can easily retire two aircraft now to start.
What do you make of Vistara’s extremely smart plan to use 737 aircraft to gain more slots at Mumbai, and then switching them over to A320s, as compared to the other 737 operator which is operating them in tatters at the moment?
(H/T Harsh Agarwal)