What were the measures taken by Vistara to fight the COVID-19 situation? How hard was the blow of the pandemic for the airline?
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the aviation industry across the world and the scenario in India is not any different. With temporary suspension of operations during the nationwide lockdown there was along period of no revenues that led to depleting cash reserves, while some of the significant expenses/fixed costs continued which has resulted in a severe financial impact.
To deal with the situation we have been pursuing several measures to reduce noncustomer facing operating expenditures and making every effort to conserve cash wherever possible. This includes renegotiating various contracts with partners, vendors and lessors. We also had to make the difficult decision of temporarily reducing some of our staff cost. During the lockdown when commercial operations were put on pause, we quickly beefed up our cargo operations to generate some revenue. In fact, we deployed our brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, in addition to our narrow-body aircraft, for cargo operations as well.
Once domestic flights resumed, we deployed our Dreamliner for domestic commercial operations on viable routes with an aim to efficiently utilize our resources. Besides, we were the first carrier to introduce another ancillary service that offers the option of booking additional seats to encourage travellers to fly with greater confidence and peace of mind. We also operated a few international repatriation flights under the government's Vande Bharat Mission and some charter flights as well. We have also started to fly to London under the transport bubble agreement and will leverage all such opportunities in future.
We have also been extremely conscious about the safety of our customers and have introduced several tech-enabled processes to reduce physical contact between our staff and the customers. This is the need of the hour and is going to be the focus of the entire industry for a long time. Several significant investments are being made in this direction.
Do you think that flexibility is required in the airline policies or a longer-term strategy would be of any help?
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