New Delhi: Despite the economic turbulence due to the Covid-19 outbreak, full-service air carrier Vistara is committed to the overall orders it had placed with Boeing and Airbus in 2018, a top company executive told IANS.
In 2018, the airline had placed an order for 50 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. At the same time, it entered a deal to purchase six wide-body 787 Dreamliner aircraft from Boeing.
The airline has inducted its first wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, for long-haul international operations in March this year.
Subsequently, the first Airbus A321neo aircraft intended for use on short to medium-haul international routes, within seven hours of flying time, was inducted in July.
Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan said that despite the COVID-19 induced economic disturbance, the airline is committed to all its orders placed in 2018.
“We may make necessary adjustments to the delivery schedule, but we are committed to the overall order placed with Boeing and Airbus in 2018,” he said.
At present, the airline has a fleet of 34 Airbus A320s, six Boeing B737-800NG and one Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner and A321neo each.
On the impact of COVID-19 on passenger traffic, Kannan said: “At present, demand for air travel is sluggish, especially with states imposing their respective travel restrictions or quarantine requirements.” “The industry average of load factors continues to be in the range of 50 to 60 per cent. However, we believe that demand will return to the market in a graded manner.” In July 2020, the domestic passenger traffic was 20.6 lakh, as against 118.6 lakh in July 2019, a Y-o-Y de-growth of 83 per cent.
The domestic passenger traffic witnessed a sequential improvement of 4 per cent over 19.8 lakh in June 2020.
Regarding the expected performance of different travel segments, he said: “We do believe that leisure travel will pick up but it will also depend on the various restrictions and regulations from the respective state governments.” “25 per cent of our customer survey respondents (who expected to fly within the next six months) indicated that they would fly to visit their friends and relatives, while 35 per cent of the respondents expected to fly for business.” Last month, Vistara conducted a survey of nearly 6,000 passengers which showed that business travel has emerged as the biggest reason for passengers to travel.
As per the survey, 35 per cent of the respondents indicated that business-related trips have emerged as the biggest reason for them to travel.
Currently, the Centre has permitted increasing the capacity to 45 per cent with effect from June 27, 2020, post the initial re-start of operations of the scheduled domestic flights, with effect from May 25,2020, to a limited extent.