Five-year plans for businesses are difficult to design in these times, says Deepak Rajawat, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara. He talks about focus markets for the airline, fleet and route expansion, revenue generation and the immense potential that the country offers to the aviation industry.
Deepak Rajawat, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara, who has been working with the airline since its inception, sounds positive while speaking about the future booking trends. “Domestically, we are looking at one of the better quarters in the summer seasons of April-May-June. Hopefully, this will continue to the next quarter as well.Internationally, it is a bit early to forecast. But the trend looks positive for the next two months. Certain pockets are really strong like Europe and some of the Middle East routes. But certain markets that have recently opened up require more awareness among the travellers, which we are also trying to do. We are marketing some of our key routes like Singapore and Bangkok, and more specifically our wide-body routes such as London, Paris and Frankfurt. So, we expect demand to really pick on both long-haul and short-haul routes,” he says.
Speaking about Singapore operations, Rajawat adds that Vistara has done well on the route since April. “We are flying almost 5x to Delhi with daily flights starting from May 1 from Singapore to Mumbai and Delhi and that too on one of our best products – the A321Neos. So, we are deploying a higher capacity aircraft and a life-like bed on the Singapore route, which shows that the demand is coming back. We also see a lot of corporates travelling out of Singapore to meet us specifically the lessors, the OEMs and the banks. They have started taking to the skies and meeting the airlines personally. India is a market that is emerging strongly – being a domestic heavy market it has shown a lot of resilience after each wave,” he shares.
Quarter by quarter plan
It is difficult to plan for five years today, Rajawat feels. “The projections are not available at any of the governing body platforms. So, we are planning quarter by quarter because there is no certainty that COVID has gone away. We are the only airline to have grown in terms of capacity additions during COVID. We were at 41 aircraft and grew to 51 in the last two years. We now have a lot of deliveries, which were staggered in COVID, which we are taking now. I doubt if anyone is making five-year plans. We do track numbers on a daily basis on the MoCA website, and they are in the range of 350K-400K departures. I expect as an industry to hit the 400K mark soon in the coming months. We see corporate demand also pick up significantly from May,” he says.
Vistara is now working on expanding routes both domestically and internationally, as well as increasing presence on existing routes. It recently launched flights on Bengaluru-Indore route.
In India, Vistara will focus on three main hubs of Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. “We will be focusing on these three cities and make them our potential hubs to expand further. And that will help us touch tier cities as well. At this point of time, we are not focusing on pan-India expansion.
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