Vistara has officially secured approval from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin US operations. The carrier filed for permissions in late April, with a tentative launch date for flights on September 1st. With DOT authorization now complete, the carrier has few steps left to formally launch services.
At the end of April, Vistara filed with the DOT requesting permission to begin operating flights between India and the US. Just over a month later, the DOT has formally granted the airline’s requesting, providing tentative clearance to begin operating flights later this year. Tentative permission allows Vistara to start flights barring any major complaints or issues.
With the Department of Transportation now approving flights, few hurdles remain for Vistara to begin services to the US. The airline has been tight-lipped about its plans, with no formal launch dates or routes being announced. While Vistara has publicly discussed the possibility of US flights, nothing is set in stone.
However, with DOT permissions requested and received, Vistara seems to be inching closer to launching direct flights between the two busy markets. In a statement to Simple Flying, a Vistara spokesperson said,
“We confirm that Vistara has reached out to the relevant authorities in the United States of America to secure permissions to commence operations to the US. While we have received a 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 two biggest Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai will very likely be Vistara’s first hub for US flights. While there could be several potential destinations, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago remain the most popular routes from India. Moreover, only two airlines currently operate nonstop flights from India: Air India and United. American will also be joining this list later this year.
Vistara will operate all flights using its fleet of six Boeing 787-9s. Similar to United and American, the Dreamliner has the range to fly destinations on the East and West coasts of the US with impressive fuel efficiency. However, before entering service, the 787s will have to be equipped with modifications like a crew rest area.
Vistara’s Dreamliners seat 299 passengers in a three-class layout, consisting of business class, premium economy, and economy.
The only remaining question seems to be when Vistara will launch flights. Since May, the US has banned the entry of all travelers except US residents and select others. Until this ban is lifted, Vistara is unlikely to kick off new routes due to the low capacity. This means that the earlier date for flights matches with Vistara’s DOT application, September 2021.
However, realistically, the carrier might delay a launch into winter 2021 or even early 2022, depending on how traffic recovers and the delivery schedules for its 787s. For now, keep an eye out for another competitor in the US-India market.
What do you think about Vistara’s US flight plans?
S: Simple Flying
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