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Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, hopes to add four more Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner planes in 2022 to expand its fleet of wide-bodied aircraft to six, allowing the full-service carrier to operate direct long-haul flights to more international destinations, chief commercial officer Vinod Kannan said.

The airline, which currently has two Boeing 787-9 planes, runs direct flights to destinations such as London, Paris and Frankfurt under bilateral air bubble agreements between India and those countries during the pandemic.

Vistara recently discontinued its services to Tokyo due to lack of demand.

“We are hoping to get four Boeing 787 planes during 2022. According to the original schedule, these planes were supposed to be delivered to Vistara in 2021. However, this was delayed for various reasons," Kannan said in an interview.

“We have ambitions to fly directly to several long-haul destinations like the US and others in the future. This will, however, depend on deliveries from Boeing and the opening up of international flights," he added.

As things stand, the Indian government has suspended scheduled international flights at least till January-end. However, international flights operate between India and 33 countries that signed air bubble agreements.

Demand for international flights, which started to recover, has again slowed down due to the emergence of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, deliveries of 787 Dreamliner planes have been suspended for much of 2021 by Boeing as the aircraft maker works through manufacturing flaws, hampering its recovery and complicating the scheduling plans of big customers, leading many carriers globally to trim their plans for long-haul international flights for next summer, business news channel CNBC recently reported.

A Boeing spokesperson said the company is continuing comprehensive inspections and rework, as needed, on undelivered planes while holding transparent discussions with the US aviation regulator FAA, suppliers and customers.

“We deeply regret the impact to our customers as we work through the process to resume deliveries of new 787s. We respect the role of our regulators and their rigorous reviews of our processes. We will take the time needed to ensure conformance to our exacting specifications," the spokesperson said.

Vistara had in 2018 ordered 19 planes worth $3.1 billion from Airbus SE and Boeing. This included 13 firm orders for Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft and options for seven more aircraft from the A320neo family and six firm orders for 787-9 Dreamliner and purchase rights for four more aircraft from the 787 Dreamliner family.

Vistara currently has a fleet of 51 planes, including 40 Airbus A320, two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, four Airbus A321neo and five Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.

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