India's newest airline Vistara said on Wednesday it had ordered 19 jets from Boeing and Airbus for a combined $3.1 billion as it prepares to launch international flights. As the country enjoys a boom in air travel owing to its growing middle class, airlines are rapidly expanding their fleets to capture a slice of the market. Vistara, a joint venture between Indian conglomerate Tata and Singapore Airlines, said it would buy six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 13 planes from Airbus's fleet of A320neo and A321neo aircraft. "These orders are a landmark step in Vistara's journey and demonstrate our deep-rooted commitment to contributing to the rise of the Indian aviation industry and to offering more choices to our customers," chief executive Leslie Thng said in a statement. The company, which began operating in 2015, added that it had also agreed to hire another 37 Airbus A320neos from leasing companies. Vistara said it would use the new planes to boost its domestic network and support its international operations, which are scheduled to start later this year. In April, Indian airline Jet Airways said it had entered an agreement to buy 75 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in a deal that could be worth more than $7 billion. There has been a six-fold increase in passenger numbers in India over the past decade as customers take advantage of better connectivity and cheaper fares thanks to a host of low-cost airlines.
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