PHOTO: Venkat Mangudi.

MIAMI – Vistara (UK) CEO, Leslie Thng, said the airline is seeing a “steady return in demand.” Accordingly, the carrier will increase its daily flights from 80 to 100 by the end of September. The route expansion comes as part of a series of discussions with India’s government to implement other solutions for domestic carriers.

Before the pandemic, the carrier operated over 200 frequencies per day to at least 34 destinations. Currently, it resumed inbound services, but the travel ban on international operations continues.

Thng told Indian PLI media that the carrier’s air travel demand has increased in major metro cities. Despite traffic on some routes being one-directional, the carrier is taking other opportunities.

Under bilateral air bubble agreements, UK already launched international special operations between India, Dubai and London. In addition, it expects to add Paris and Frankfurt to its current network.

The airline is been operating international special flights since August. Vistara Airbus A320Neo. Photo: Airbus.

Positive Future Outlook

In light of the carrier’s slow but steady ability to expand, Thng said that the consistent return of confidence in customers gives UK hope.

While capacity deployment and lower demand are major factors to take into account, border closures remain uncertain. That is why Indian airlines have requested the government to hand them a US$1.5bn interest-free credit line.

On financial matters, Thng said that the airline is “sufficiently funded for now” and parent companies have confidence in its growth strategies. So far, the airline has taken several measures to reduce non-customer facing operating expenses. But it also has re-negotiated third-party contracts.

Looking towards the future, Thng said that it is time to be more understanding and empathetic towards each other. For the time being, the airline CEO is hopeful of achieving Indian aviation consolidation when better times return.

Featured photo: Vistara A320Neo. Photo: Venkat Mangudi.