NEW DELHI: Full service carrier Vistara has got US department of transportation approval to fly to the country. Air India is the only Indian carrier that operates to the US at present. Erstwhile Jet Airways, that stopped flying in 2019, also used to go there. Vistara, that belongs to Tata Group which is widely seen to take over Air India, will be the third Indian airline to tap the huge North American market. Whether that happens before AI returns home to its founder Tata Group later this year, remains to be seen.
A Vistara spokesperson confirmed “reaching out to the relevant authorities in the United States of America to secure permissions to commence operations to the US. While we have received a temporary foreign air carrier permit from the department of transportation, USA, the process is still ongoing. We shall be sharing further details at an appropriate time.”
The Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines (SIA) JV had in mid-2018 placed a firm order for six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, the first three of which have a range of flying nonstop to Europe, Fast East and Australia. It is learnt that Vistara is likely to opt for the remaining three Dreamliners with “overhead flight crew rest” (OFCR) option that will have a bunk for crew members. This will enable the airline to fly nonstop to north coast destinations like New York, Washington and Toronto with two sets of crew operating aircraft by turn.
Vistara is learnt to have sought Indian DGCA approval for an “extended diversion time operations” or EDTO of 180 minutes for its Dreamliners. This will technically allow the Vistara Dreamliners to mount nonstops to and from both the east and west coasts of North America.
The US is one of the most important markets for Indian carriers and Covid has led to a preference among flyers to travel direct between the two countries instead of going via hubs in Europe, Gulf and SE Asia. This major shift will benefit carriers offering nonstops between India and North America.





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