By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Full-service carrier Vistara has witnessed a reasonable domestic demand on account of the pent-up travel needs of passengers, the airline’s key executive told IANS.
Accordingly, since the start of the domestic services on May 25, the airline has pressed more aircraft into service and added newer destinations.
However, it remains cautiously optimistic about the future growth prospects for the industry due to the ever dynamic nature of the current health crisis.
The airline and the industry as a whole has been among the worst affected sectors of the economy due the imposition of national lockdown which was meant to curb Covid-19 infection.
Vistara started out with 20 flights on May 25. Subsequently, it has till now added 20 more flight services.
Besides, the airline has also deployed its newly-acquired Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Delhi-Kolkata route due to high demand. West Bengal is the last state which has allowed re-commencement of domestic passenger flight operations.
In April, the airline had deployed its newly-inducted aircraft to transport relief material, medical supplies and essential commercial goods during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The demand on some of the routes is reasonable and we look forward to scaling up our operations in weeks to come to help more people reunite with their loved ones,” Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara, told IANS.
“This also enabled us to deploy India’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Delhi-Kolkata route on May 28 and 29, 2020.”
Nevertheless, the Tata-SIA-backed company believes that it might take a while before the growth curve is reached again.
“For some time, we expect demand for only essential travel, as leisure and business travel may still take a while to return,” he said.
“Meanwhile, flyers are also gaining familiarity with the new SOPs and guidelines in place and realising that flying remains the safest way to travel. We remain sanguine in our outlook for the Indian aviation sector.”
The Centre has allowed limited passenger flights — about one-third of the summer schedule — to operate between metros and other destinations from May 25.
Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at email@example.com)