Think it’s all bad news when it comes to coronavirus and the aviation industry? Vistara has found a reason to be hopeful about its fortunes when international travel resumes.

Vistara betting that travellers will want to fly non-stop

We recently reported how Vistara is working with Boeing to delay delivery of some of its new wide-body aircraft, though the carrier is expected to receive its second 787 Dreamliner soon.

As and when the Indian government permits international services to resume, Vistara feels it will be in a good position as passengers will favour direct services, rather than itineraries with connections.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Vistara’s chief commercial officer, Vinod Kannan said:

“There will be an increase in the number of people who want to travel direct, say, from India to Europe, because they don’t want to transit through another hub that increases travel time, that increases exposure. There’s actually a silver lining for us both in terms of business travellers and people flying to visit their friends and relatives.”

Business travel expected to resume

With a focus on the premium economy and business class segment, Vistara is more reliant on higher-yielding corporate travellers than its low-cost rivals.

Asked about the prospects of business travel resuming, Kannan said:

“The fact is that now many companies are under stress because of the Covid situation, they have had to cut discretionary spends, and travel unfortunately becomes one of those. But if you look at it beyond that, may be toward the end of the year or next year, business travel will come back, there’s a need for people to meet, there’s a need for businessmen to travel and meet face-to-face with their suppliers, partners and so on.”

Singapore Airlines is banking on Vistara’s success

A joint venture airline between Singapore Airlines and India’s Tata Group, Vistara is seen as a vital part of Singapore Airlines’ to take on its rivals in the Gulf like Emirates and Qatar Airways.

With no domestic market, Singapore Airlines - which recently raised over USD 6bn by selling shares and bonds - is looking to Vistara to help plug the gap.

Vistara’s only local competition for wide-body, long-haul flights comes from state-owned Air India, though a process is underway to sell off the national carrier.

Summing up

If and when it’s in a position to offer direct, long-haul international service, Vistara will be placed to compete with rivals like Emirates and Etihad, who have traditionally done well in the Indian market by transferring passengers through their hubs in the UAE.

Vistara’s hope is that, post-coronavirus, air travellers will want to minimise their risk of infection and prefer to fly direct.

Once travel restrictions are lifted, will you try and avoid connecting flights?