Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l) is primed to reach a fleet size of 42 aircraft by early 2020, almost twice the size it was in March this year.

The full-service carrier (FSC) recently welcomed three A320-200neo into its fleet, and six more are expected to be integrated by Vistara by the end of the year. Also in the delivery pipeline are two of six B787-9s it had ordered from Boeing last year. The airline is also expecting to take a single A321-200neo in 1Q 2020.

'With this, from 22 aircraft in March 2019, the airline will take the fleet size to 42 by March 2020,' said the carrier in a recent release. The airline, which only commenced commercial operations in January 2015, is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi).

Leslie Thng, Vistara's Chief Executive Officer said: 'With our fleet expansion, we will continue to grow our domestic and international network, including the commencement of medium- and long-haul international flights in 2020.' The carrier's 787-9s are earmarked to allow long-haul connections to points in Japan, UK, and the US.

As a result of this fleet expansion, the carrier has been able to rapidly expand its network. The destinations added by Vistara in the last seven months include Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Colombo Int'l, Dibrugarh, Dubai Int'l, Indore, Jodhpur, Khajuraho, Patna, Singapore Changi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Udaipur.

The carrier is now the fourth-largest carrier at Delhi Int'l, behind IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l), Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l), and SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l). Vistara's weekly seats at the Indian gateway have grown from around 56,000 to nearly 80,000, representing over 40% growth.

The Indian Government is set to sell its stake in Air India, with expressions of interest likely to be invited from interested parties in the coming few weeks.

The Tata Group is planning to look into bidding for the only other Indian FSC, although it is deemed most likely that any bid will come from Vistara itself. Any deal would most probably lead to a merging of Tata’s airline units.