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Vistara orders 19 Airbus, Boeing jets to tap surging India air travel

Tata-Singapore Air-backed carrier also plans international flights

Vistara has a fleet of 21 aircraft that serves 22 destinations with more than 800 flights a week.   © Reuters

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Vistara, a joint venture of India's Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, is buying 19 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, as the airline gears up to start international services and expand local operations.

The full-service carrier is placing firm orders with Airbus for 13 A320neo and A321neo jets and with Boeing for six 787-9 Dreamliners, it said in a statement. The combined order is worth $3.1 billion at list price. Airlines typically get a discount to list prices.

Vistara has already signed a letter of intent with Airbus for the 13 aircraft, with options to add seven more airliners. In addition, the company also plans to rent 37 new A320neo aircraft from leasing companies, it said.

"India's position as the world's fastest-growing domestic aviation market and its impressive growth in air passenger traffic that has more than doubled over the last decade, makes us confident of our aggressive plans for domestic expansion and international foray," Leslie Thng, Vistara chief executive, said in the statement.

The airline, which has a fleet of 21 aircraft that serves 22 destinations with more than 800 flights a week, is seeking to tap into the boom in India's aviation market.

Air travel has been growing at an annual pace of more than 20% in the past few years in the country, spurred by rising incomes and the advent of no-frills carriers. The south Asian nation is already the largest aviation market after the U.S. and China with domestic traffic of more than 100 million passengers.

Indian carriers such as Jet Airways and market leader InterGlobe Aviation's IndiGo have already ordered hundreds of aircraft worth billions of dollars in recent years. India's airlines, which operate about 500 aircraft, have ordered an additional 1,000 planes, according to an estimate by HSBC earlier this year.

In July, Boeing said it expects Indian airlines to order up to 2,100 aircraft worth $290 billion over the next 20 years.

Vistara, which started operations in India barely three years ago, said delivery from the initial order for one A320neo is due in September.

The latest A320neo and A321neo aircraft will be powered by LEAP 1-A engines from CFM International, and will be due for delivery between 2019 and 2023, Vistara said. The company will use these jets to expand its domestic network and support international operations planned for later this year, it added.

Vistara's Boeing order comprised six firm-ordered 787-9 Dreamliner and purchase rights for four more from the Dreamliner family. The planes, to be powered by the General Electric GEnx-1B engines, are scheduled to be delivered between 2020 and 2021.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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