Vistara, which had started the process of induction of the Boeing 787-9 aircraft in 2020, had hit a roadblock with their aircraft after receiving the first two aircraft in 2020 itself. The reason for this delay was the embargo that Boeing’s regulator, FAA, had placed on the OEM after they discovered some structural issues which needed to be fixed before deliveries could resume.
Now, apart from Vistara, there is a tonne of airline clients who are seeing a delay in the delivery of their ordered 787 aircraft, while Boeing has over 100 aircraft already produced to fix and deliver to the customers. Since the deliveries restarted earlier this year, Boeing has only been able to deliver 9 787 aircraft, which include one each to Lufthansa, WestJet, ANA, AirFrance-KLM, British Airways and United Airlines, and three to American Airlines so far.
Hainan Airlines comes to the rescue of Vistara and others…
Unable to wait any longer to receive their remaining four 787-9 aircraft, Vistara finally decided to lease one Boeing 787-9 aircraft from airline leasing company AerCap. This aircraft was formerly with Hainan Airlines, which took the aircraft in October 2018 and then put it in storage in November 2019, as the airline collapsed under a mountain of corporate debt.
Hainan Airlines Boeing 787-9s got a new lease of life, with some of these being taken over by Lufthansa, who are in the process of inducting up to 5 not taken up aircraft, and has already received some of them. For that matter, Boeing had made a strong pitch to Vistara as well for Hainan’s ntu aircraft, painting them up in Vistara colours, hoping an order would come their way. Also, Bamboo Airways has three of these aircraft.
Vistara inducts one Boeing 787-9, leased from AerCap
At the beginning of this year, Vistara was noncommittal about exploring the lease option, but as they firmed up their position on the Delhi – London market and the market came out of the pandemic mode, they seemed to have a change of heart on the lease proposition. Vistara has now inducted one Boeing 787-9, which was earlier being used by Hainan Airlines and was stored in Abu Dhabi, eventually. The aircraft has been registered as VT-TSQ, in an ode to both the shareholders of the airline (Tata/Singapore Airlines)
Vistara had expected to start adding up more flights to Paris and Frankfurt with the addition of the third airframe effective the end of October 2022, but unfortunately, they had to cancel some of those flights with the delay in induction of this aircraft, and they had already sold tickets. This aircraft arrived in India on the evening of November 1, 2022, and will be put into the first revenue service on November 6, 2022.
The aircraft will retain its product installed for Hainan Airlines itself. However, there seem to be modifications and upholstery changes that have been brought in. Hainan Airlines’ 787-9s are configured in a 289-seat configuration, with 30 Business Class seats, 36 Premium Economy Class Seats and 226 Economy Class seats.
The Business Class section has the Zodiac Cirrus seats. It is a popular product, and I believe it might just be more popular than their originally installed 787-9 product, where they followed Singapore Airlines’ lead.
Behind the divider, the first four rows are a Premium Economy product laid out in a 3-3-3 configuration, which looks like it is the Economy Product but with a larger seat pitch of 36 inches. There will be no divider between the Premium Economy and Economy sections if they go by how Hainan configured the aircraft.
Here is a video of the Hainan 787-9.
Vistara to operate special domestic flights on November 6/7 to induct these aircraft
Back in the day, with Jet Airways, their A330 rotations between Delhi and Mumbai used to be very popular as it used to allow people to experience the wide body product domestically. Some people still fly Air India specifically for the Boeing 787/777 wide-body aircraft, which operates some tag flights from Delhi to other metros. Now, Vistara is using their new 787-9 to operate some flights between Delhi and Mumbai on November 6, 2022, and November 7, 2022.
On November 6, 2022, Vistara will operate DEL-BOM-DEL on the UK 945/UK944 flights, and on November 7, 2022, they will operate UK963/UK960 with this aircraft. That will be the first opportunity for some folks to try out the new product and for the designated cabin crew to get some domestic service experience before the aircraft starts flying to Europe on regular sorties with Vistara. You can still book a ticket on AirVistara.com.
Vistara’s new 787-9 is a leased aircraft from AerCap, which has been brought in because the airline has not received its remaining 787s from Boeing yet. The ex-Hainan Airlines aircraft will have a different, roomier business-class section and will operate its first services domestically on November 6/7, 2022.
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