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Vistara may reconfigure seat pattern in aircraft following low load factor

New Delhi: Vistara may be looking to reconfigure its aircraft to better align with market realities. The airline, which is all of eight months old, is reviewing the three class configuration it currently has, which means it offer 16 Business Class seats and 36 Premium Economy Seats besides 96 Economy Class seats across its aircraft. It is the only airline in the domestic market to offer Premium Economy seats.

 Vistara may reconfigure seat pattern in aircraft following low load factor

A Vistara aircraft.

On an average, Vistara has been flying with 35-40 percent empty seats on its aircraft when the domestic aviation market has been clocking close to 20 percent traffic growth and rival airlines have been flying with lot less empty seats. Sources told Firstpost that the airline could look at either reducing seats in the business class or trimming the premium economy seats - in either case, seats would be added to the Economy section. But this decision would be taken for aircraft deliveries scheduled next year, there would be no change in configuration for aircraft coming in till the end of this year.

But Vistara chairman Prasad Menon did not confirm if reconfiguration was on the airline's to-do list immediately.

"As far as the three class configuration is concerned, I think we need to give it a lot more time. If we have to do anything with it we will review it from time to time. In fact we have found that actually there has been a good response to our premium economy. There have been a lot of people who have appreciated it and there has been a steady growth in occupancy. Early days yet so we will need to wait for some more time," he said today.

Menon pointed out that it has been only eight months since the airline took to the skies.

"We are generally happy with the way things have gone. Yes load factors seem a little low. But we also need to realise that the last 3-4 months have been very, very low season," Menon said.

To a question on whether Vistara's pricing was a factor in low aircraft loads, he said Vistara has been very competitive in its pricing from day one.

Mukund Rajan, director on Vistara's Board, added that the airline is a long term player and so short term issues are not going to impact it. He also said that Vistara's expansion plans in the domestic market, aircraft addition etc. remain well on schedule.

CEO Phee Teik Yeoh said that the airline was happy with the passenger load factors that it is achieving in economy class. He, however, declined to get into specifics.

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Updated Date: Oct 06, 2015 20:28:26 IST