Vistara, the joint venture airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, launched its international operations earlier this week commencing flights to Singapore from Delhi and Mumbai. With these flights, Vistara became the first beneficiary of revocation of the 5/20 rule for international flights.
What was the 5/20 rule?
The norm stipulated that any Indian carrier should complete at least five years in domestic operations and have at least 20 aircraft in its fleet before it is given permission to fly on international routes. In 2016, however, with the new civil aviation policy, the Centre did away with the five-year clause of the rule. This meant that new airlines would need to have 20 aircraft deployed on domestic operations to be able to fly internationally.
What does it mean for Vistara?
With the launch of its international flights, Vistara aims to plug in a void left by the collapse of Jet Airways of a premium offering by an Indian airline. The only other Indian full-service carrier operating on international routes is flag-carrier Air India. However, Vistara is also pitted against India’s low-cost airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir, in addition to global premium carriers such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, etc.
What are Vistara’s future plans for international flights?
So far, the airline has announced flights to Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai. It is soon expected to announce services to Colombo and Kathmandu. All these routes can be operated on Vistara’s narrow-body fleet that comprises Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline is also expecting deliveries of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft next year, which would enable it to operate on long-haul routes to destinations in Europe, Australia, etc.