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Vistara to cut 25-30 flights daily; 10 pc reduction in capacity mostly in domestic routes

Vistara to cut 25-30 flights daily; 10 pc reduction in capacity mostly in domestic routes

New Delhi, Facing disruptions due to non-availability of crew, Vistara on Sunday announced reducing 10 per cent of its capacity or 25-30 flights daily and most of the cancellations are in the domestic network as the Tata Group airline strives to stabilise operations.

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The full-service carrier is to operate over 300 flights daily in the ongoing summer schedule and witnessed significant disruptions earlier this week as many pilots reported sick, resulting in cancellations of flights.

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“We are carefully scaling back our operations by around 25-30 flights per day, i.e. roughly 10 per cent of the capacity we were operating. This will take us back to the same level of flight operations as at the end of February 2024, and provide the much-needed resilience and buffer in the rosters,” Vistara said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the carrier, these cancellations are done mostly in the domestic network and much ahead of time to minimise inconvenience to the customers.

“All the affected passengers have already been re-accommodated on other flights, as applicable,” it said and added that the on time performance has improved.

The airline hopes to have stable operations in April and beyond.

The cancellations by Vistara will further reduce the overall available capacity amid rising domestic air passenger traffic and the fares could rise on certain routes due to lesser number of services.

On Friday, Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan said that a stretched roster was the key reason for the flight disruptions. Some sections of the pilots have also raised concerns about the new contract that will result in pay revisions ahead of the airline’s proposed merger with Air India.

The carrier has around 1,000 pilots out of a total workforce of about 6,500 people.

On April 1, Vistara said it was reducing operations due to the non-availability of crew and other operational reasons. A day later, aviation watchdog DGCA asked the airline to submit a daily report on flight cancellations and delays.

In an interview with PTI on Friday, Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan said the airline will look to review the current rostering system after discussions with pilots and emphasised that there has been no unusual spike in attrition.

Meanwhile, aviation regulator DGCA has issued a show cause notice to Vistara for alleged violations of pilot training norms.

The violations happened during conversion training wherein pilots of narrow body planes are trained to operate wide body aircraft.

Sources said the violations happened with respect to Zero Flight Time Training norms.

Generally, ZFTT refers to training for a particular type rating done in a simulator. For a new type rating, a pilot has to undergo a skill test and then the ZFTT. In the current instance, it has been alleged that there was a longer gap than permitted for conducting the training after the skill test.

The sources said the conversion training for more than 10 pilots of A320 family planes to operate Boeing 787 aircraft have been halted for now following the DGCA raising concerns.

“We are in receipt of a show cause notice from DGCA and are in discussion with the regulator on the subject,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement. This was in response to a query related to violation of ZFTT norms.

Vistara has a fleet of 70 planes comprising 63 aircraft from A320 family and 7 wide-body Boeing 787s. As per the summer schedule, which started from March 31, the airline is to operate a little over 300 flights daily.

The airline has decided to temporarily reduce the number of flights it operates, to ensure adequate connectivity across its network.

Further, the carrier has deployed larger aircraft like B787-9 Dreamliner and A321 neo on select domestic routes to combine flights or accommodate more customers, wherever possible.

In the ongoing summer schedule, Vistara will be operating 25.22 per cent more weekly flights at 2,324..

The airline a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines had a domestic market share of 9.9 per cent.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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