Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines will launch their airline, named Vistara on Monday, by October. Vistara has leased 20 Airbus A-320s, including seven A-320 Neos, to be inducted over five years. The airline will take delivery of its first aircraft in September and have a fleet of five by the end of the year. The fuel-efficient A-320 Neos will arrive in 2017, much later than AirAsia and IndiGo will deploy theirs.
Vistara’s application for an air operator’s permit is being examined by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Phee Teik Yeoh, chief executive of Tata-SIA, said: “We are in the last lap. There is a series of approvals to get. We expect to receive the first aircraft in September and we will have five aircraft this year.”
Prasad Menon, chairman of Tata-SIA, said: “Everyone knows the parentage of the airline, but a new identity is needed to communicate what the brand stands for.”
Vistara, the Sanskrit for limitless expanse, is in line with Singapore Airlines’ strategy to provide new brand names to the airlines it controls: Regional carrier SilkAir and budget carrier Scoot.
The airline also unveiled on Monday the uniforms for pilots and cabin crew, designed by David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore.
“Research shows flyers feel anxious as they are not sure when they will reach their destination. Punctuality will be hygiene for the airline,” Yeoh said. “We will provide personalised service not seen before in the country.”
Yeoh declined to comment on the price of these services, and said pricing was about what a customer was prepared to pay for an experience.
He said Vistara was finalising its network covering cities with a clear demand for a full-service airline. He also said Vistara would fly to non-metro cities as well.
Tata-SIA had earlier said it would initially fly to five cities, going up to 11 after a year of operations. The airline will have 87 weekly flights linking Delhi to Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh.
Tata Sons partnered Singapore Airlines on September 19, 2013, to launch a full-service airline in India with an initial investment of $100 million. Tata Sons holds a 51 per cent stake in the airline. SIA owns the rest for $49 million.
Vistara made Delhi its hub because of Mumbai airport’s lower capacity. Tata-SIA Airlines has said it would like to fly abroad if allowed. Rules do not permit Indian airlines under five years and with fleets less than 20 aircraft to fly abroad. The aviation ministry has prepared a Cabinet note to change the policy.
The Tatas also have a partnership with Malaysian carrier AirAsia for a budget airline that began flying on June 12.
Corporate launches galore