Ashwin Rajagopalan

“Our domestic services are already specced for the International market, Vistara’s domestic passengers get a great deal on business and premium economy cabins”. Vinod Kannan, Chief Strategy Officer, Vistara believes that Vistara’s experience in premium cabins gives it an edge as it expands its international operations. Colombo became the fourth international destination in Vistara’s global footprint. The airline launched its first Mumbai-Colombo-Mumbai flights on November 25, 2019.

For a city that was rocked by deadly bombings in the summer of 2019, Colombo’s hospitality and tourism sector seems to have rebounded faster than most industry observers predicted. Part of that can be attributed to business travellers from China and India who haven’t cut back on their visits to the Island nation. Vistara is betting big on the Corporate and SME sectors to fill its premium cabins.  One Galle Face is one of the spots where you will see signs of a resurgence. This luxury shopping destination along Galle Face and next door to the city’s premier luxury address – the Shanghai-la, debuted this month. Its home to luxury brands and upscale dining venues including Crystal Jade Hong Kong Kitchen, a Michelin starred restaurant.

Kannan sees a huge opportunity for Mumbai as a hub for Sri Lankan travellers who can fly on to other domestic destinations. International connections could soon be part of the mix for Sri Lankan fliers as Vistara begins its Go West push in 2020. Vistara is expected to launch its wide-bodied 787 aircraft next year which will see the airline add Europe to its flight map. The acquisition of the 787s will also add a whole new dimension to the Business and Premium Economy experience on an airline that isn’t shy to use the ‘5-star Airline’ tag. The 787 is not the only new aircraft in the equation,
Vistara has also added the all-new A320 Neo to its flight on sectors like Singapore this month. These new aircraft bring more state-of-the-art seats with connectivity options that have become a bare essential for new-age premium travellers.

We experienced the Business Class cabin on the inaugural flight to Colombo where Vistara scores with its meal selection and beverage list. Passengers in Business Class can check out Vistara Blue, the airline’s signature White Rum and Blue Curacao based cocktail. But it’s the Premium Economy cabin that could be the real game changer for Vistara on this sector. Passengers get a choice of wines and meal options aside from extra leg room and boarding privileges.
Vistara expects the Premium Economy cabin to also work for leisure travellers from India who have also started adding Sri Lanka to their holiday plans. Vistara is most likely to add a Delhi-Colombo connection in the next couple of months, a clear indication that Sri Lanka will be a key market in the brand’s long-term game plan.

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