A new airline is taking to the Indian skies, to go after the growing segment of the Indian public with the funds to travel by air.
Vistara Air is the result of a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, the holding group of the Mumbai-based multinational conglomerate Tata Group. Singapore Airlines controls 49 percent of the airline, while Tata owns 51 percent.
The carrier unveiled its name on Twitter Monday, announcing that Vistara was inspired by the Sanskrit word “vistaar,” which means “limitless expanse.”
Vistara, based in New Delhi, will start operations in October, said Tata-SIA Airlines chairman Prasad Menon. The airline plans to offer 87 weekly flights during its first year of operation, according to documents submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India. Destinations will include Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh. The airline plans to add more flights and destinations in the future.
Vistara will take delivery of its first plane, an Airbus A320-200, in September, and will increase its fleet to five aircraft by the end of the year, and 20 by its fifth year in operation.
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This is the second airline launch in India this year. The first was AirAsia India (also partly owned by Tata), a low-cost carrier, which began operations in June and is part of the Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad (KLSE:AIRASIA) group. But, Air Vistara will serve as a full-service carrier and aims to capture customers from India’s growing middle class.
Experts say that Singapore Airlines, which is known for quality service and is frequently ranked as one of the best airlines in the world, will have an influence on how this new luxury carrier operates.
Chief executive Phee Teik Yeoh told reporters that “the Indian aviation sector is on the cusp of change.” He added that the airline plans to “redefine travel” for the Indian consumer.
Air Vistara is not the first airline in India to go after wealthy travelers. Kingfisher Airlines, owned by liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, pioneered that approach with larger-than-average business class sections on domestic flights, and luxurious seating and service on international routes. But it was grounded by financial woes in 2012.
“It will be more focused on the corporate traveler,” Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO at Centre for Aviation, told Quartz. The Hindu reports that most flights will offer double the number of business class seats than other Indian airlines do, along with an “in-between class for those unlikely to afford business fare but yearn to be looked after.”
Meet Abraham & Thakore, designer duo behind our elegant and contemporary uniforms. pic.twitter.com/aPXt99jYDM
— Vistara (@airvistara) August 11, 2014