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Vistara is negotiating with Boeing Co. and Airbus as well as leasing companies to delay deliveries of some of the planes scheduled to arrive this year, a top official at the private airline said, in an attempt to reduce costs as fewer people fly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The full-service airline, owned by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, also hopes to return some of the leased planes even before their lease period expires.

Vistara had planned to receive Boeing 787-9s (Dreamliners), Airbus A320neos and A321neo jets during the year, Vinod Kannan, the airline’s chief strategy officer said. “We have taken delivery of our first Boeing 787-9 plane. The second one was supposed to come in March, but this hasn’t happened. Our Airbus A321 planes were also supposed to come from March-April, but this hasn’t happened too. A lot of this is due to logistics issues," he said.

“So, there is some delay in that front, and this would have a knock-on effect on other deliveries as many aircraft manufacturers had to close down and cut capacity. This is an ongoing discussion with aircraft manufacturers and lessors. We are also reviewing our delivery plans and fleet plans to see whether there is any scope to delay our deliveries, or early lease returns are possible," Kannan said.

Vistara currently has a 41-plane fleet, including seven Boeing 737 planes, one Boeing 787-9, and 33 Airbus A320 planes, including six older A320ceo planes and 27 A320neo planes. It planned to have 52 planes by March 2021.

“This year, we will return our first (leased) batch of Airbus A320ceo planes, about six of them. We took nine Boeing 737 planes, earlier operated by Jet Airways. Out of this, two have already been returned. A third one will be going back some time this year. The remaining six are on short-term lease. We are also reviewing this to see if there is an opportunity for us to rationalize, and if early return is possible," Kannan said.

The scheduled delivery of six A320neos for Vistara in FY21 will also depend on increased aircraft production, and crew training for these planes.

“Those deliveries that are supposed to happen at the end of the year may have to be pushed back," Kannan said.

Earlier in June, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines together infused 500 crore into Vistara, which will be used for aircraft-related payments and working capital requirements, Kannan said.

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