Benefitting from a recently formed travel bubble agreement between India and the United Kindom which permits limited direct scheduled flights, Vistara (UK, Delhi International) and SpiceJet (SG, Delhi International) are planning to launch services to London in the coming weeks.

According to Business Standard, the former is planning to launch services from Delhi International to London Gatwick in mid-August. A 51/49 joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines Group, it intends to operate them with B787-9s. It took delivery of its first widebody shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down international traffic and has yet to deploy the unit beyond the domestic market. Vistara plans to take a second B787-9 later this month.

Vistara plans to add long-haul B787-9 flights to Frankfurt International and Paris going forward, although the timeline has not been revealed.

Meanwhile, low-cost rival SpiceJet announced in a stock market filing that it has secured slots at London Heathrow for scheduled flights from India starting on September 1, tentatively through the end of the Summer 2020 season.

"The Company is also in advance discussion to secure slots for winter schedule for regular operations," SpiceJet said.

SpiceJet did not reveal its planned airport of origin in India for flights to London. It is also unclear what aircraft it will deploy given it does not have its own widebody aircraft. It recently wet-leased an A330-900 from Hi Fly (5K, Beja) and was also linked to the wet-lease of A330s from Oman Air (WY, Muscat).

The airline did not respond to ch-aviation's request for clarification.

Under travel bubble agreements with the UK, France, and Germany, scheduled flights between these countries and India are now permitted, although tough restrictions remain regarding who can enter the EU and India from either side.