Vistara sees signs of recovery, remains optimistic (IANS Exclusive)

Receding impact of Covid’s third wave has buoyed full-service carrier Vistara’s demand outlook.

In a conversation with IANS, Vistara’s Chief Executive, Vinod Kannan, said till now pandemic has triggered uncertainty and reiterated the importance of staying “agile”.

“Confidence in air travel had been steadily growing over the latter half of 2021, resulting in a consistent return of demand, specifically in the domestic market. We observed a gradual return of demand in international travel too,” Kannan said.

“However, with the outbreak of the new variant of the Covid-19 virus, we did witness a drop in overall bookings.”

Nevertheless, he cited that the airline is observing a steady increase in traffic in February 2022 compared to the previous month

“We remain positive about the future.”

On coping with the third wave, he cited that the experience of navigating the past two waves did help the airline strengthen protocols and processes to operate safely.

“The uncertainty is something we all must adjust to as the battle against the virus is still ongoing. We continue to focus on various measures to make flying as safe and stress-free for travellers as possible.”

Besides, Kannan said that the future pent-up demand will be mainly driven by domestic VFR (visiting friends and relatives) and leisure travel segments.

“However, with more international markets opening up to vaccinated travellers and reducing the requirements around pre departure and post arrival testing, we expect that things will gather momentum on international leisure and slowly, international corporate travel too.”

In terms of international segment, the airline has managed to add seven new destinations to its network including Dhaka, Doha, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Male, Paris and Sharjah.

Furthermore, Vistara has been able to resume services to and from Dubai, Colombo and Singapore.

“We will also be resuming services between Delhi and Kathmandu starting 16 February 2022. All these flights are being operated under India’s air bubble agreements with the respective countries.”

“This definitely enables us to introduce Vistara in all these markets while we wait for scheduled international operations to resume.”

At present, the airline’s domestic network spans 30 cities.

“We plan to further densify our domestic network with more frequencies to existing destinations and launch new ones, too.”

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

20220209-123602

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