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Last Updated : Mar 17, 2020 01:03 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Coronavirus pandemic | Adjusting capacity, taking steps to conserve cash: Vistara CEO tells employees

The joint venture airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines has adjusted capacity for March and April

Vistara's first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft (Image: Twitter/@Boeing_In)
Vistara's first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft (Image: Twitter/@Boeing_In)
 
 
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Vistara, the joint venture airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has adjusted its operations, apart from taking steps to cut costs and conserve cash, to limit the damage from novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, its CEO Leslie Thng said in a March 16 mail to employees.

The efforts come on the back of travel advisories by governments, including India, restricting travel. Apart from that, customers -- both for business and leisure -- have cut down on travel.

Pointing out that these restrictions have 'adversely impacted air travel demand globally and locally,' Thng said Vistara too is not immune to disruptions.

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He said the airline has adjusted its international and domestic capacity for March and April. "As the situation is still evolving, we are closely monitoring and will make further capacity adjustments as and when required," Thng said.

While over 6,000 people have died, more than 180,000 have been infected globally. In India, the numbers are three and 126, respectively.

The aviation sector is among the most hit. While bookings for IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation) have come down by 20 percent, Vistara too had talked about similar impact on some of its routes.

On March 16, industry advisory CAPA said the continuing spread of coronavirus may lead to bankruptcies of most airlines by May-end. CAPA's South Asia CEO Kapil Kaul told Moneycontrol, "Depending on the extent of the spread in India - impact on Indian airlines with weaker balance sheet will be severe."

Additional steps

Thng added that the airline is working with its stakeholders to minimise the impact. "We are taking preventive measures to reduce cost and conserve cash, including engaging our partners and suppliers to work together. Discretionary operating expenditures will also be tightened," said Thng.

The management has also taken measures to prevent the virus from spreading in the flights. It had set up a task force to take these measures.

“We are continuously monitoring flights across our network for risks. If any suspected case comes to our attention, our operations and maintenance control centres are immediately informed for necessary action.

"This includes immediate sanitisation of the affected row including three rows ahead and behind of it, lavatory, sidewalls, tray tables, overhead compartments and carpets by approved cleaners. If any confirmed cases are reported, we will carry out complete sanitisation of the aircraft. Deep cleaning of cabins and cockpit is being carried out on regular intervals," a Vistara spokesperson said.

Similar measures are being taken by other airlines, including IndiGo and SpiceJet. CEOs of both the airlines wrote to customers, detailing steps to curtail the virus.

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First Published on Mar 17, 2020 01:03 pm
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