'This industry requires a progressive policy'

'This industry requires a progressive policy'

'This industry requires a progressive policy'

Vistara, the joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SIA), is waiting in the wings.

The joining of hands of these two brands comes years after their aborted attempt to launch an airline in mid-1990s and later in  2000 to buy stake in Air India. Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yoh responded to the queries of Deccan Herald's Shemin Joy. Excerpts:
Tatas and SIA have an envious history in the corporate world. Both have come together after an aborted first attempt years ago. How will you change the dynamics of Indian aviation sector?

Vistara brings together Tata's and SIA's legendary hospitality and renowned service excellence. We aim to ensure that customers enjoy a seamless experience which shall set a new benchmark by integrating technology, processes and service excellence. With an obsession for quality in every aspect of customer engagement, Vistara will delight travellers with intuitive thoughtfulness. There is a huge untapped market for full-service carriers and the partnership is a well thought-out long-term move, positioned to create a world-class carrier.
The existing players had created roadblocks for new players. How do you deal with it?

As a new entrant in the market, we are complying with all the requisite regulations laid down by the authorities concerned. Vistara’s strategy is clear- we want to raise the bar for the Indian aviation sector. We remain focused on providing the highest standards in our services and ensuring a seamless experience for all our customers. The industry, however, requires a progressive policy, which will ensure that all stakeholder interests are adequately covered and considered. We are very hopeful that the new policy will introduce reforms to help the aviation sector capitalise its untapped potential.
The argument given by the rivals is that Vistara was given approval in violation of FDI rules. What is your reaction?

The matter is subjudice and therefore we will not comment on it.
The Indian aviation sector is still not out of the woods. Do you think there is space for you?

With Vistara, we aim to bring in global best practices, innovation, integrated processes and technology. With that, we have been employing the finest talent that is trained by the best. We see a clear demand in India for a better flying experience and we have chosen to meet that need with a high level of customer focus and quality of service. We aim to be a world-renowned airline of choice, esteemed for its exceptional customer service.

Civil Aviation Ministry has come out with a draft policy. What are your comments on it?
 What do you expect the government to do?

We strongly feel that by putting forward this draft, the government has certainly shown the right intention as they want to introduce a more accountable and responsible system within the industry and we are in complete support of the plan. We welcome the reformist approach especially around development of airport infrastructure and facilities for travellers. We look forward to the Government setting actionable goals for achieving the desired milestones set in the policy related to hub concept, ATF pricing, MRO and removal of the discriminatory rule for domestic airlines to fly international.
When can we expect Vistara to launch its operations?

As a team we are quite focused and concentrating all our energies towards operational readiness. With the acquisition of two new A320 aircraft, one of which has already been painted recently with the Vistara brand livery, we are making rapid progress towards operational readiness.
At what stage is the AOP clearance?

There is an approval process that every new airline needs to go through and we are also following the same process. It is however taking a little longer time than we anticipated. There have been some new developments with respect to DGCA guidelines and we are working to swiftly comply with the same.
What are the plans for first year? How many destinations will beconnected within a year.

We will be focusing on growing operations in metros and non-metros where there is a demand for full service airline. We look forward to catering to travellers in India who are looking for a seamless air travel experience.