India’s newest airline, Air Vistara, is expected to make its debut later in the year. Vistara is a joint venture between India’s Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. It is expected to fly from October.
This would be the second airline launched in India this year, after Air Asia—also in partnership with Tata—took off in June 2014. Experts believe that both these airlines will be game-changers in India’s competitive aviation sector, where many players have been crippled by high cost and low fares.
“Overall impact on the aviation sector will be positive. Both are strong companies with deep pockets,” Dhiraj Mathur, executive director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told Quartz.
Here is what we know about the Tata-SIA venture:
What’s in a name: The airline’s brands name, Vistara, was unveiled today and the company has started a new Twitter account. The name is inspired by ‘vistaar’, a sanskrit word meaning “limitless expanse”.
Logo: The airline also unveiled its new star-shaped logo on their Twitter account:
Shareholding: Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group, partnered with Singapore Airlines on September 19, 2013, to launch this airline with an initial investment of $100 million. Tata Sons holds 51% stake while the remainder is with Singapore Airlines.
Airbus over Boeing: Singapore Airlines chose Airbus’s A320 for this venture. Aircraft will be leased.
Full-service: Unlike Air Asia, which aims to revolutionise low-budget travel in India, TATA-SIA venture is going to be a full-service airline. After the collapse of Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Air India are the only players left in India’s full-service market.
“TATA- SIA is most likely starting a full-service airline which will mean it will be more focused on corporate traveler. Don’t see any impact on fares but introduction of new service levels,” Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO at Centre for Aviation, told Quartz.
Hub: TATA SIA Airlines Limited will be based in New Delhi. All flights, including linked flights, will originate in Delhi and all aircraft will return to Delhi at night.
Route map: According to the documents submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Tata-SIA plans to operate 87 weekly flights during the first year of its operation. The airline is likely to have 14 flights a week connecting Delhi to Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Apart from covering the big cities, there are going to be seven flights a week to Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh.
Uniform: The cabin crew will not be dressed in saris or skirts, but in pants. Vistara says that their uniform, designed by Abraham & Thakore, is practical and embodies the best of Indian traditional wear.
Outsourcing strategy: The airline has tied up with Air India, which will manage its ground-handling and engineering services.
“There are many pros with outsourcing such as negotiating costs and soliciting bids from different players; not investing in infrastructure; not having to look for and hire specialised people; not getting involved in labour contracts, and so on,” Steve Forte, New York-based former chief executive of Jet Airways told Livemint.
Team: Tata veteran Prasad Menon is the chairman of TATA SIA Airlines Limited. He serves on the boards of several Tata companies, including Tata Industries, Tata Chemicals, Tata Projects and Tata Consulting Engineers.