India's Vistara to start flights in October
New Delhi, August 12, 2014
India's newest airline, a joint-venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, is likely to begin flights in October.
The new airline, to be called Vistara -- a Sanskrit word meaning "limitless expanse" -- is 49-percent-owned by Singapore Airlines, while the Mumbai-based Tata conglomerate controls 51 percent, a report in the Times of India said.
The airline will offer both business and economy class, new chief executive Phee Teik Yeoh told reporters in New Delhi, and hoped to start flying passengers "sometime in October", subject to approval by India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"We welcome the Tata-Singapore airline to India, it will help us stay slim and not drop our guard," Jet chairman Naresh Goyal told a late evening news conference, it said.
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation consultancy estimates the industry will lose $1.3-1.4 billion in the financial year to March 2015 after losing $1.7 billion in 2013-14, a statement said.
But Vistara's new chief executive projected a strong future for the new carrier thanks to India's fast-growing middle class.
"The Indian aviation sector is on the cusp of change," he said, saying the company was "very bullish about the future" thanks to low air-travel penetration in the country of 1.25 billion,” Yeoh said.
Vistara will take delivery of its first plane, an Airbus A320-200, in September, and will have five aircraft by December. It plans to increase its fleet to 20 by the end of its fifth year in business, a statement said. - TradeArabia News Service