Singapore Airlines, through its Indian joint venture Vistara, is beefing up its fleet to take on Emirates and Etihad Airways, according to Bloomberg on Thursday.
The latter two now dominate flights between India and Europe and the United States.
Bloomberg says the airline is considering ordering more aircraft from Boeing to serve destinations as far away as the United States. It adds that the carrier is also weighing the purchase of more A320neo-family planes from Airbus, including the longest-range A321XLR model.
On Tuesday, Vistara launched its first overseas service between New Delhi and Singapore. It has top Indian conglomerate Tata Group as its majority shareholder.
India is seen as one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world. The International Air Transport Association says the country’s air passenger numbers will more than triple by 2037. It says 63 million people flew out of India last year, two-thirds of them on foreign airlines.
SIA is targeting this lucrative pool. A spokesman for the airline told Reuters that Vistara is a key element of its multi-hub strategy and that the launch of international operations from India offered additional opportunities to SIA.
However, he declined to comment on the competition. Emirates, too, declined to comment.
Emirates is often dubbed the “unofficial national carrier of India”. It controlled almost 15% of the to-and-from market last year.
SIA will have to battle it out in the notoriously price-sensitive Indian market, although international routes are profitable, as shown by Emirates and Etihad.
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