As Vistara took delivery of the first wide-body Dreamliner 787-9 aircraft at Boeing facility here, the airline’s CEO Leslie Thng said the plane’s first commercial international flight would be either to Europe or to the Far East region.
Standing inside the 787-9 plane here, Thng told the reporters that the Dreamliner would be initially deployed within India on domestic routes for one to two months for the crew to get familiar with the aircraft.
The 787-9 aircraft would be the first wide-body plane in Vistara’s fleet. All other 39 planes in its fleet are narrow-body planes such as A320s and B737s.
"As for long haul operations for Dreamliner aircraft, I have shared previously there are few destinations we are looking at. Which destination would become the first depends on which approvals we get first…We are working on few destinations," he said.
"This is only the first aircraft we are receiving. The second would come to us by the end of next month. That would give us a lot of possibility in trying to fly to at least two destinations," he added.
"Europe is one of the places we are looking at in terms of destination. Far East is one area we are looking at," Thng noted.
After Thng’s interaction with reporters, Vistara on Thursday announced expansion of its two-way codeshare agreement with Japan Airlines, which allows an airline to sell seats of other airline on its system.
Vistara said Japan Airlines will be able to sell tickets on its flights connecting Delhi to 19 Indian cities.
On the other hand, the Indian carrier would be able to seek seats on five Japan Airlines flights going out of Tokyo.
This indicates that the airline’s first international flight on Dreamliner aircraft can be on the Delhi-Tokyo route.
The airline may also aim to start a Delhi-London flight using the first Dreamliner aircraft.
Vistara currently has a one-way codeshare partnership with British Airways. Thng said this will soon be a two-way codeshare partnership.
A wide-body plane like the Dreamliner can travel longer distances as compared to narrow-body aircraft like the A320s.
Talking about the features of the Dreamliner aircraft, Thng said,"As it is a widebody, it is very different from the A320s aircraft that we have within our fleet. You can see that every seat will have a TV screen. In business, premium economy and economy class, the screen is 18 inches, 13 inches and 12 inches, respectively."
Thng also talked about how the first Dreamliner plane, which has registration number VT-TSD, would be the first aircraft in India to provide WiFi services.
"This aircraft will also have in-flight connectivity. Among Indian carriers, it would be the first aircraft that would be able to provide in-flight connectivity within India as well as outside of India," he said.
Regarding in-flight WiFi service, Thng said the airline is close to getting the final approvals from the Indian authorities.
The Dreamliner has three class configuration with business class, premium economy class and economy class each having 30 seats, 21 seats and 248 seats, respectively. In total, the aircraft has 299 seats.