Friday, August 12, 2016

Vistara grows two fold in Delhi, 7 new destinations in last 12 months

by Soumen Mukherjee

Vistara has increased monthly departures from its hub Delhi Airport to almost double (93% growth MoM) in August 2016. While Guwahati sees the biggest MoM increase in its monthly departures with first non-stop flight to Delhi added in mid-June 2016. The airline has added seven new destinations to its network in the last one year. And two more destinations are expected to be added by the year end and hopefully early in the winter 2016 schedule. Among the two new destinations to be added, Amritsar is believed to be a front runner while the other one most likely to be a short distance North Indian route from Delhi (CAT-III). Delhi being its hub, clearly leading with 16 direct routes followed by Mumbai (4), Bengaluru (2), Goa (2), Guwahati (2), Kochi (2), Srinagar (2) while all other 10 stations are served by only one route each. Vistara is expected to launch Bengaluru-Kolkata flight, the third non-stop route from Bengaluru while the number of non-stop routes from Kolkata to be increased to four by October 2016. Port Blair (18th destination in the network), the second route from Kolkata is scheduled from 30 September 2016.

In Vistara's network of 17 destinations, Ahmedabad and Lucknow are the only two stations to see a reduction in capacity while Lucknow-Delhi frequency has been halved to single daily since December 2015. Ahmedabad lost one route (to Mumbai) and a fourth of its monthly departures. While Bagdogra and Pune see no change in their respective capacities and remain steady at 2015 level. As of now, Bagdogra and Jammu are the only two airports in the network that remain unserved with non-stop flights from its Delhi hub. Though Bagdogra had non-stop flights from Delhi briefly in the winter 2015-16 schedule during the peak fog season between between 20 December 2015 and 13 February 2016.

Vistara's seat capacity growth outpaced the growth in departure numbers as the airline has made a transition from 148 (16J, 36S, 96Y) seater aircraft to 158 (8J, 24S, 126Y) seater aircraft between April to July 2016 across its fleet of eleven Airbus A320. This involved re-configuring first nine aircraft (VT-TT B-J) while the latest two (VT-TT K-L) were delivered in the revised cabin product in May-June 2016. Two more aircraft (likely registration VT-TT M-N) are expected to join the fleet in September-October 2016. With that Vistara would take deliveries of all 13 Airbus A320ceo of its original order (lease agreement) and the rest seven Airbus A320neo are scheduled to enter into the service between June 2016 and June 2017. And Vistara is likely to become the fourth airline in India to operate the improved version of Airbus's workhorse A320 as Air India is slated to add its first Airbus A320neo by early 2017 following IndiGo and GoAir.

With rapid expansion of fleet as well as network, Vistara achieved its first million passenger in less than one year. The airline had crossed one lakh monthly passenger milestone in October 2015, in just tenth month of its operation and two lakh mark came in May 2016. The second million came in June 2016 and took almost half the time than first million as the network increases. In terms of market share too, Vistara is showing steady growth where it captures 2.8% in June 2016 as per the latest data released by DGCA. It would be interesting to see whether it is able to increase its market share further or at least maintain its current market share in the coming months as its planned capacity increase (two more aircraft by October 2016) is relatively small compared to the overall capacity growth as well as passenger growth in India's domestic market.
Vistara operating at a reduced frequency on Delhi-Srinagar sector from July 2016 following unrest in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.

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