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Tata-SIA airline to fly as Vistara

(From left) Tata-SIA directors Swee Wah Mak and Mukund Rajan, chairman Prasad Menon and CEO Phee Teik Yeoh in New Delhi on Monday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

New Delhi, Aug. 11: The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture today announced that its airline, to be launched in October, will be named Vistara, which means "limitless expanse" in Sanskrit.

“We are in the last lap of the process of securing the air operator permit (flying licence). There are a series of approvals which we have to get to the satisfaction of the DGCA (directorate general of civil aviation),” said Phee Teik Yeoh, CEO of the full-service airline.

Yeoh was speaking at a ceremony to launch the brand name, the logo and the livery of the airline.

Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd will get its first aircraft in September. By the end of this calendar year, it will have five aircraft.

The New Delhi-based airline has decided to lease 20 Airbus A-320s, including seven A-320 Neo series planes. The airline plans to have a 20-aircraft fleet in five years.

The CEO remained mum on ticket pricing, though sources said the fares would be comparable with that of Air India and Jet Airways on domestic routes.

The CEO also said the airline was close to finalising its route network.

“It will cover cities having a clear demand for a full-service airline,” Yeohe said.

Sources had earlier said that the airline planned to begin services in five cities, going up to 11 within a year of launch, with 87 weekly flights. The proposed cities include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh.

On competition with low-cost carriers, chairman Prasad Menon, “The (Indian aviation) market is large for everyone to operate and we don’t see any significant overlap.”

The Tatas will own a 51 per cent stake in the new airline, while Singapore Airlines will own the rest of the $100-million paid-up capital.

 
 
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