Indian full-service airline Vistara inches another step closer to entering the US-India market with its nonstop flights. The airline has confirmed that it obtained the US government’s license to operate international flights.
Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) earlier in April seeking permission to operate scheduled flights between India and USA. The DOT responded, in just over a month, providing tentative clearance to begin operating flights later this year. Reportedly, Vistara is eyeing the September 1 launch of its flights to USA. However, there’s no official information as to which US destinations the airline will make its services available to.
“While we have received the temporary Foreign Air Carrier Permit from the Department of Transportation, USA, the process is still ongoing. We shall be sharing further details at an appropriate time,” the airline spokesperson is quoted as saying.
Vistara has 2 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner carriers in its fleet, which it will deploy for long-haul operations between USA and India. According to reports, Vistara aims to expand its fleet size, which includes the addition of 3 or 4 more wide-bodied Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that enable the airline to operate nonstop flights on long-haul routes.
Passenger traffic between the USA and India is always high, thanks to a significant percentage of Indian diaspora in the US and extensive business ties between the countries. The US is one of the most important markets for Indian carriers, and both countries also have an open skies agreement. By introducing its nonstop flights to USA now when travelers are favoring nonstop routes over indirect routes for flying between USA and India, Vistara is hoping to hit the right note with travelers’ needs.
So, travelers might very soon have Vistara’s flights as an option for flying nonstop between India and USA. Currently, Air India and United are the only two airlines operating nonstop flights between these two nations. While Delta hasn’t resumed its suspended services between New York and Mumbai, American Airlines is still a few months away from starting its nonstop flights from New York to New Delhi and Seattle to Bengaluru this winter. With more airlines planning to operate flights on potentially lucrative, untapped routes and more and more nonstop routes being added to US-India connectivity, the US-India air travel market seems to be gearing up for rapid growth.