The Indian airline Vistara may not be well known outside its home country, but expect to see them soon in Europe as their new B787-9 Dreamliner enters the stage. The first longhaul aircraft of Vistara was unveiled this week in a ceremony in New Delhi together with their new cabin products.
Vistara was founded in 2013 as a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, with their first flight taking off from New Delhi to Mumbai in January 2015. After Kingfisher Airlines closed its operations in 2012 and Jet Airways collapsed in 2019, Vistara has firmly established itself as the leading full-service carrier in the massive domestic market in India. International operations commenced in August 2019 using B737-800NG aircraft, and now the first B787-9 Dreamliner has entered the fleet. Five more are set to follow this year as airline spreads it wings far beyond the Indian subcontinent. Vistara today serves 24 destinations, and has its eyes firmly set on growth.
Indian law stipulates that foreign entities may only own up to 49% of any airline in India, so Vistara is today owned 49% by Singapore Airlines and 51% by Tata Sons. This is however not the first time Tata ventures into the airline industry, as they originally established Tata Airlines back in the 1930, which later became the flag carrier Air India following nationalization in 1953.
Singapore Airlines has for many years been a popular choice for passengers flying between India and destinations in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, but the carrier has for geographical reasons not been able to effectively catch traffic flows from India to Europe and North America. Vistara serves as the perfect tool to address this challenge, combining the airline expertise of Singapore Airlines with the strong position of Tata Sons. The carrier has yet to reveal its first longhaul routes, but London and Tokyo have been named as priority destinations by airline management. In the first months of operations, Vistara will operate the B787-9 on domestic routes for crew training and familiarization proposes.
Business Class on the new aircraft looks stunning, if somewhat familiar. Seats have been supplied by Stelia and are essentially the same as Singapore Airlines offers on their B787-10 and A350-900 with regional configurations and what Turkish Airlines has introduced on their longhaul B787-9. Although the seats are similar, each airline has used its own colour scheme and design elements. Business Class onboard Vistara features grey leather finishes with red accents applied to storage areas and cushions. Passengers are cocooned within a fixed shell featuring velvet lining and reading lamps. As expected by premium passengers today, Business Class is configured 1-2-1 and seats can be reclined into a fully flat bed. Entertainment is provided via 18” touchscreen monitors that come with remote handsets to control the entertainment system and ambient lighting. The Vistara B787-9 also offer Premium Economy and Economy Class in matching colour schemes.