Tata and Singapore Airlines-owned Vistara has added Bangkok as its third international destination after commencing services to Singapore and Dubai earlier this month. The daily Delhi-Bangkok route, using an Airbus A320neo with three-class cabin configuration, signals the clear ambitions of India’s only private full-service airline to map out an international footprint. It plans to add three more international gateways by the end of this calendar year—most likely Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan.
The Bangkok route will tap the increasing Indian visitors to Thailand each year, Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said. “Our main market is still Indian, and we will create our food and beverage around this,” he told AIN.
Presently there are more than 300 weekly flights between India and Thailand. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) registered a growth of 13 percent last year over the previous year with 1.6 million Indian visitors, making Thailand one of the preferred countries for travel by Indians. Charun Ohnmee, deputy governor for policy and planning, TAT, expects the figure to rise to two million this year and 10 million by 2028. To enable Indians to travel beyond Bangkok, Vistara has signed an interline agreement with Thai and Bangkok Airways for Samui or Phuket, Thng noted. He said India is “not a saturated market…there is a demand for every airline.” According to Mumbai-based consultant Vishok Mansingh. “Bangkok is a second home for Indians and the market just gets bigger.”
Vistara, which started operations in 2015 and now connects 27 destinations, aims to continue its rapid expansion backed by an order for 50 A320neo/A321neo aircraft and six Boeing 787-9s. Deliveries of the new Airbus narrowbodies, a combination of purchased and leased aircraft, are scheduled to start in October, while its first Dreamliner is scheduled to arrive early next year. The 787 will enable the airline to fly to “four-to-six long-haul destinations,” said Thng. “London will be a key destination.”