In taxiing mode, Vistara sees clear skies ahead

'Hope 5/20 Rule for flying abroad will go away soon'

In taxiing mode, Vistara sees clear skies ahead

 As it prepares to hit the skies next month, Vistara, on Monday, expressed optimism about the growth potential of the Indian aviation sector, even as some of its rivals are bleeding.

The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture, which will start operations on January 9 with a Delhi-Mumbai flight, also said that it could start international operations once the government removes a rule that mandates a carrier to be five-years-old, and have at least 20 aircraft in its fleet for flying abroad.

At the launch of Vistara’s services, products and tagline ‘Fly the new Feeling’, its CEO, Phee Teik Yeoh, acknowledged the ‘challenges’ but said that they are optimistic about the growth story of the aviation sector in the country.

“We don’t drive on the road looking at the rear view mirror always,” he told reporters, when referred to about SpiceJet’s troubles and the critical time at which Vistara is entering the market.

He hoped that the government, which has got the “strongest mandate” in the last three decades, would soon scrap the 5/20 Rule, which allows Indian airlines to fly abroad only after they have flown domestic for five years and have a 20-aircraft fleet.

“The writing is on the wall. It is a legacy that must go. If the Indian aviation sector has to be on the global map, this rule must go. We hope that the rule goes away. When it does, we will look at international expansion,” he said.

He said that they plan to increase the fleet size to five by March and further to 20 in the four years of operation.

Consumer research

With Vistara launching the economy, premium economy and business class services, Yeoh said that the airline has carried out in-depth consumer research that shows a huge market for business class travel in the country.

When compared to rival airlines, the fares of Vistara are on the higher side. A Delhi-Mumbai economy class ticket on January 9 would cost Rs 7,502 while its business class ticket would cost Rs 32,347. However, rivals like full-service Jet Airways and low-cost Indigo have the fares between Rs 5,400 and Rs 6,268 as on Monday, according to travel portals.

The airline has also launched a frequent flier programme ‘Club Vistara’, a ‘value-based accrual scheme’ that enables customers to earn points based on the money spent by them. It allows family-pooling, which allows up to six members of a family to pool their points that can be redeemed by any one of them.

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