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Festive-push: Operating at over 90% pre-Covid capacity, says Vistara (IANS Exclusive)

 
By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Accelerated domestic vaccination drive along with trends like 'revenge travel' during the festive season and easing of Covid-19 restrictions has bouyed Vistara's demand outlook.


Accordingly, the airline operating at more than 90 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity, expects to reach pre-Covid levels of demand "very soon".

In a conversation with IANS, Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara, cited a consistent rise in demand for domestic air travel during the last two to three months.

"The government's decision to remove restrictions on capacity deployment has also come as a very welcome news for the industry. We can expect to reach pre-Covid levels of demand very soon. We are already operating more than 90 per cent of our pre-Covid capacity," he said.

Besides, he pointed out that even international routes have been performing well due to the growing number of countries easing travel restrictions.

At present, India has formed air bubble pacts with about 28 countries. India-based airlines are allowed to operate flights to these countries on a reciprocal basis.

"We can expect the (demand) trend to move in a positive direction and the demand to increase progressively, subject to no large shocks like a third wave," Kannan said.

According to Kannan, the airline witnessed a surge in demand during the festive season which was backed by increasing confidence in air travel.

"This surge can be attributed to people visiting friends and relatives (VFR) or travelling for leisure particularly on the metro routes, between cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and leisure destinations such as Goa and Leh.

"We hope that the demand will continue to rise in the coming months as well," he added.

In addition, he said that the airline has resumed hiring selectively, aligned with its growth strategy.

"Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have been focused on our expansion plans and have been consistently working towards it. As the market gradually started improving from the impact of the pandemic in the second half of 2020, we continued to tread our way carefully...."

The airline is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA).

Currently, it has a fleet of 50 aircraft, comprising 39 Airbus A320, four Airbus A321neo, five Boeing 737-800NG, and two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, and has flown more than 29 million.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at rohit.v@ians.in)

--IANS
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