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Vistara taking first 737s under fresh lease deal with BOC

Indian carrier Vistara is to lease six more narrowbodies from lessor BOC Aviation, including its first Boeing narrowbodies as it moves to fill capacity vacated by the grounding of Jet Airways.

The Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines joint venture carrier is taking delivery of four Boeing 737-800s this month from BOC. The deal also covers two CFM International Leap-powered Airbus A320neos for delivery in the second half of 2019.

Vistara, which launched flights in 2015, has until now been an all-Airbus operator. Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows it has a fleet of 22 A320s - nine of which are re-engined Neos. The airline has a further 35 Neos on order.

The airline is taking the aircraft to expand its domestic operations, in part filling capacity following Jet Airways' suspension of operations in April. Indian authorities have, on a temporary basis, handed former Jet Airways traffic rights to other airlines able to provide interim capacity.

Vistara says it has recruited nearly 500 former employees fromJet Airways, including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other staff.

"These leased aircraft will be deployed to meet the sudden drop in capacity in the market and to aid convenience of travellers," says Vistara chief executive Leslie Thng.

"Our decision to induct a different aircraft type in our fleet is a carefully evaluated one, which is both, economically and commercially viable, and will eventually help us take the Vistara experience wider and deeper across markets in India.

"Our focus on serving the domestic market has remained unwavered even as we prepare to become an international airline," he adds. Vistara has been seeking authority to begin international flights and last summer ordered six Boeing 787s in support of this expansion.

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