As Vistara plans its long-haul network and strategy, there is one market where it could have a sizeable impact: US to India. The US-India market is quickly heating up, with new airlines entering the market and new routes on the horizon. Here’s how Vistara could shake up the market and add more connectivity in this rapidly growing market.
Even today, direct flights between the US and India are ruled by the duopoly of United and Air India. While American Airlines will kick off its first India route in nearly a decade this summer, this remains limited to Bangalore. While Bangalore sees a surge in connectivity to the West Coast, other routes remain wide open to competitions.
Considering this, Vistara has a huge market to exploit from its hubs in Delhi and Mumbai. The airline can add capacity to cities like New York or San Francisco, both of which are currently only served by United and Air India. Seeing the amount of traffic taken by the Middle Eastern carriers (ME3), it’s undoubtable that there is a market for more direct capacity from India.
This is where Vistara steps in. By offering daily departures from Delhi and Mumbai to New York, it would go toe-to-toe with Air India in terms of domestic options. Moreover, Delta’s recent decision to pull out from the Mumbai-JFK route opens up a gap it can fill comfortably.
More competition will prove to be good news for the customer and challenge the two airlines currently dominating the market. With capacity still required, can Vistara pull it off?
Unlike the completion on the US-bound route, Vistara has a modest long-haul footprint. The airline operates a fleet of two Boeing 787-9s Dreamliners, with four more arriving in the next two years. The 787-9 offers the exact range required for the long-haul services to the US, with the ability to fly 7,530 nautical miles (13,950km).
Vistara offers a comfortable new onboard product, especially in business class. Compared to the competition, the airline would squarely beat Air India and give United a run for its money (although we’ll have to give it a try to confirm!). With a competitive product, passengers are unlikely to avoid Vistara if it launches services to the US.
Not the first time
This isn’t the first time talk about Vistara flying to the US has emerged. The carrier has previously mulled flights to the US but did not make any plans soon. However, as the aviation market comes out of its worst year in history, this is certainly the best time to shake up the market with a surprise launch if you can.