After collaborating with Air Asia for launching low cost airlines in India, Tata has now finalized it’s joint venture with Singapore Airlines to launch aluxury airlines service: ‘Vistara’; which means ‘limitless expanse’ in Sanskrit.
Both the parties have collectively infused $100 million into this venture, and as per initial reports, Vistara will take off in October, during the peak season of Diwali. Tata Sons will own 51% stake in this JV meanwhile Singapore Airlines will have 49%.
Last year in October, they had received the approval from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board to launch their airlines, and now they are waiting for air operator’s permit to officially start the operations.
The airlines would be based in New Delhi, and initially, they are planning to acquire 5 Airbus A-320s to kick start the operations.
In the next 5 years, Vistara will add 20 more aircrafts in its fleet which includes 7 Airbus A-320s considering their fuel efficiency. Cabin crew members uniform will be designed by Abraham & Thakore wherein airhostesses would wear Indian ethnic dresses.
Meet Abraham & Thakore, designer duo behind our elegant and contemporary uniforms. pic.twitter.com/aPXt99jYDM
— Vistara (@airvistara) August 11, 2014
Their hub would be Delhi, which would be connected to all major Indian cities including Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Srinagar, Jammu, Chennai, Jaipur, Kolkata, Guwahati and Kochi. During their first year of operations, Vistara will operate 87 weekly flights from Delhi to Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Srinagar and Patna. Indian aviation industry has never seen such wide-spread connectivity during the first year itself.
During the announcement of this new airlines, Tata Singapore Airlines (TSAL) CEO Phee Teik Yeoh made it clear that Vistara wont be competing with low-cost airlines as their focus is to provide a luxurious experience. As per him, Vistara will “redefine travel” as the airline’s philosophy would be “athithi devo bhav”.
Emphasizing the importance of personalized and customized service, he said, “Indian air travellers were made to feel a cog in the wheel or just a seat number” and that Vistara will “change this by offering personalized services”
Tata and Singapore Airlines had earlier tried to enter the Indian aviation market via joint venture, but were rejected by the government. In the late 90s, Tata even tried to buy a stake in Air India, which was opposed and the plan was dropped. TSAL chairman Prasad Menon shared, “We have been waiting for a very long time. Our relationship with SIA is a very special one that has withstood disappointment…. There is an old saying, ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now’,”
Interesting Trivia: JRD Tata, who was a cousin of Jamsetji Tata (founder of Tata Sons) and former Chairman of Tata Sons was also India’s first licensed pilot and established India’s first commercial airlines: Tata Airlines in 1932. It was renamed to Air India in 1946 and nationalized in 1953.