Vistara, India’s full-service carrier, had planned to start its US operations in September this year. Vistara is a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA).
The airline has 48 aircrafts, including 37 Airbus A320, three Airbus A321neo, six Boeing 737-800NG, and two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in its fleet.
The Dreamliners are used mainly on international routes connecting Delhi with London Heathrow and Frankfurt. In July, Vistara started its DELHI-TOKYO-DELHI weekly service after receiving its second Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The airline also provides convenient international connections to Dubai, Sharjah, Doha, Colombo, Male, Bangkok, Singapore, Dhaka, and Kathmandu.
Though Vistara received the formal Foreign Carrier Permit from the Department of Transportation on the 25th of August, the time is too short to begin operations in September as planned.
“We have received approvals for US flights, but we will have to see when we can receive the third aircraft, and only after that can we do a more comprehensive kind of expansion plan,” said Vinod Kannan, chief commercial officer at Vistara.
Vistara has placed firm orders for six Dreamliners, with options for four more. The B787 is the only aircraft in their fleet capable of flying non-stop to the US.
In July the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had informed that some undelivered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners had quality issues and need to be set right before delivery. On the 6th of September the Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing had again halted all B787 deliveries as the company has been unable to persuade FAA to inspect its aircrafts.
Boeing has been having several manufacturing issues with the Dreamliner. This time around, the FAA, learning from the Boeing 737MAX issues, has been rather stringent with its quality tests, and it doesn’t seem that the agency will relent.
Boeing said in a statement earlier this week,
We have engaged with FAA on this issue in meetings and working sessions over hundreds of hours and will continue to do so.”
The delayed certification by FAA has kept Boeing from delivering more than $25 billion worth of Dreamliners. Boeing said it had about 100 jets in its inventory awaiting delivery at the end of June. The entire Boeing 787 manufacturing plan is further getting delayed.
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