Indian carrier Vistara  is considering service between India and the United States, but is currently constrained in the post-pandemic environment. Vistara is a joint venture airline between Indian conglomerate Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. AirInsight had an opportunity to speak with their CEO, Vinod Kannan, earlier this week to discuss their plans for operating to North America.   

He noted that India and the United States signed an open sky agreement in 2005 allowing designated airlines of both countries to operate as many flights as they like between as many points in the two countries. “I don’t think there’s a shortage of points, whether it’s New York, San Francisco, whatever it is.  But at the end of the day, I need the aircraft to do any of these (flights),” said Vinod Kannan, Chief Executive Officer, of Vistara.  At this moment, the airline has only two Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and deliveries of Boeing 787s have been stopped by the FAA during most of 2021 and all of this year.  The airline did receive temporary approval to fly into the US in 2021, though it has not yet started operations.

A foreign carrier flying into the US for the first time has to seek permission or the Operating Authorisation under Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) 129. Once this is filed, the US authorities seek public comments for which anything between 60 and 90 days are normally given.  After the review of the public comments, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appoints a technical team comprising Principal Operations Inspector, Principal Airworthiness Inspector and others to review the application before giving clearance. In addition, clearance from the  Transportation Security Administration, (TSA) a department of the US Homeland Security, is also required.

Kannan added that whether Vistara goes to the US and when it goes to the US, will depend on what aircraft are available because flying directly to the US from India has some requirements. “For example, you need a crew bunk for horizontal rest, you need a certain takeoff weight, you need a certain thrust rating and so on, which the two 787s that we have at this time are not capable of.  We will be looking at what is available in the market and potentially look at what routes we can fly,” Kannan said.  This could include leasing of additional 787 aircraft if availability and reasonable pricing can be found in the market in the near term.

Vinod Kamman

Indian carrier Vistara  is considering service between India and the United States, but is currently constrained in the post-pandemic environment. Vistara is a joint venture airline between Indian conglomerate Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. We had an opportunity to speak with their CEO, Vinod Kannan, earlier this week to discuss their plans for operating to North America.   


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