Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l) is evaluating options regarding the deferral of some of its aircraft on order but still sees a chance to launch its long-awaited London operations by the end of 2020, Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan said during an online media conference.

"I believe in the third or fourth quarter [for the launch long-haul international flights] but the decision will be a function of bilateral bubbles. It will also be a function of when countries re-open, which has been a moving target," Kannan said.

The airline previously planned to launch services to London Gatwick as early as March 2020 using its newly-delivered B787-9s. These plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vistara's other prospective long-haul destination is Tokyo.

Indian airlines are banned from operating international flights until at least July 31, 2020, due to border restrictions related to the pandemic. Kannan underlined that "normalcy" would not return immediately even if the ban is lifted at the end of this month.

He underlined that despite the tough environment and low demand, which has translated to around a third of Vistara's aircraft being used, the airline does not plan to completely pause all deliveries. It will definitely take at least one more B787-9 and two A320neo Family narrowbodies. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Vistara's current fleet consists of thirteen A320-200s, twenty A320-200Ns, six B737-800s, and one B787-9. The airline's only widebody, delivered in late February 2020, has so far been used exclusively on domestic sectors.

Vistara's pre-COVID international network included regional destinations such as Colombo Int'l, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Dubai Int'l, Kathmandu, and Singapore Changi, all of them served with narrowbody aircraft.

A joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines Group, Vistara has thirteen A320neo and five B787-9s on firm order from Airbus and Boeing with more units of both types due from lessors.