At a time when the aviation industry is faced with headwinds such as rising fuel costs and tough competition, full-service airline Vistara has reportedly dropped its business class and premium economy seating from some of its aircraft. This would mean that like budget airlines such as IndiGo, Vistara will be offering only-economy seats on some of its routes.
Currently, the only-economy aircraft will be operated on routes where there is less demand for premium-class seats. These, as per a Business Standard report, would be aircraft between Tier B and Tier C cities. However, Vistara will continue to serve meals on board in all its flights.
This move is a significant shift in strategy for Vistara, which has been positioning itself as a premium airline to stand out from the likes of IndiGo, SpiceJet, etc.
As per the BS report, Vistara currently has one aircraft that it acquired from WOW Air that has all economy seats. It has also reportedly asked Airbus to send 10 aircraft in all-economy configurations. These would be 10 out of the 50 narrow-body A320 and A321 aircraft it had ordered from Airbus.
Vistara reportedly said in a statement that it may have a few all-economy aircraft in its fleet to serve routes with weaker demand. “The all-economy aircraft tends to be deployed on routes with weaker demand for front cabins or on seasonal leisure routes,” a company spokesperson said.
However, it clarified further that this does not change the business model of the company.
“Service delivered across our fleet will be full-service, regardless of the configuration.” Experts say the government’s route dispersal guidelines (RDG), making it mandatory for airlines to operate in loss-making regional routes, is a big reason why the airline has been forced into a hybrid strategy,” the spokesperson added.
However, BS quotes aviation experts as saying that a hybrid fleet could lead to operational challenges and customer dissatisfaction.