Vistara (UK, Delhi International) has been granted a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate scheduled and charter passenger and cargo services between India and the US.

The order, issued on August 24, becomes effective on the 61st day after its submission for a presidential review or the date of receipt of approval from the US President's office, whichever happens earlier.

As reported, Tata SIA Airlines Limited (TSAL) t/a Vistara – a 51/49 joint venture between India’s Tata Sons and the Singapore Airlines Group – on June 2 had received tentative approval from the DOT to its application for an exemption and an FACP. This followed its application on April 28 to launch commercial services to the US on September 1, 2021, using B787-9s, without disclosing any specific routes or destinations.

Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan told Mint in June the airline planned to start direct long-haul flights to the US with B787-9s between October and December 2021.

The airline currently has two B787-9s in the fleet, according to the ch-aviation fleets module. They are currently deployed on routes from its home base in Delhi International to Bengaluru International and Chennai (India), and Frankfurt International (Germany), London Heathrow (UK), and Tokyo Haneda (Japan), the ch-aviation PRO airlines module shows. Vistara has four more B787-9s, as well as twenty-seven A320-200Ns and two A321-200Ns on order with plans to expand its operations, especially on the international front.

The carrier flew to medium-haul international destinations such as Singapore Changi, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the UAE before international flights from India were grounded in March 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the DOT order, Vistara now is authorised to conduct:

  • scheduled flights ferrying passengers, property, and mail from points behind India, via India, and intermediate stations, to a point/s in the US and beyond;
  • scheduled cargo flights between the US and any other point/s;
  • charters of passengers, property, and mail between any point/s in India and any point/s in the US, and between any stations in the US and any point/s in a third country or countries. This is provided that, except with respect to cargo charters, such services form part of a continuous operation, with or without a change in aircraft, that includes service to India for the purpose of carrying local traffic between India and the US.

Vistara may also engage in other foreign charters subject to DOT regulations.