Vistara’s flight to US on hold due to pending approval from FAA


Earlier this year, Vistara, an Indian full-service airline from Tata and SIA Airlines, announced that it will be the only second airline to fly to the United States, apart from India’s national carrier Air India.

However, this ambitious plan has been delayed due to a global halt in deliveries of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jet pending approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A senior Vistara official said the carrier will have to wait for additional Dreamliners to be able to start US operations as its existing lot of two 787 planes have been deployed on other international and domestic sectors.

“We have received approvals for US flights. But we will have to see when we can receive the third aircraft, and only after that can we do a more comprehensive kind of expansion plan,” said Vinod Kannan, chief commercial officer at Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.

“At present, London, Tokyo, Frankfurt flights, and occasional domestic and charters are using up the aircraft (Boeing 787) time,” Kannan said.

Vistara has firm orders for six Dreamliners, with options for four more. It is the only wide-body plane in the airline’s fleet capable of flying directly to long-haul destinations like the US.

Vistara currently has a fleet of 48 aircraft—37 Airbus A320; three Airbus A321neo; six Boeing 737-800NG; and two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

Delivery of the Dreamliner will likely remain halted until at least late October as Boeing has been unable to persuade air-safety regulators to approve its proposal to inspect the aircraft, The Wall Street Journal reported on September 6.

FAA had on July 12 said some undelivered Boeing 787s have a new manufacturing quality issue which the company needs to fix before shipment.

“We have engaged with FAA on this issue in meetings and working sessions over hundreds of hours and will continue to do so,” Boeing said in a statement on Tuesday.