Monday, February 13, 2017

People are now ready to pay a premium to fly with Vistara: Sanjiv Kapoor

Vistara has managed to fill a higher percentage of seats in the economy class than any other airline in the country while charging higher fares on average, said the full-service airline's chief strategy officer Sanjiv Kapoor. He told Mihir Mishra in an interview that people are ready to pay a small premium for flying with the airline.Edited excerpts:
How has Vistara fared during its second year of operations?
We are on a measured growth plan. We are adding four aircraft in 2017 and we may add five aircraft next year. In 2016, our network grew significantly. We added four aircraft and grew our fleet from nine to 13 aircraft, a 45% increase. But we have aggressively expanded on the number of flights with the same fleet, which has grown 80%. That also says how aggressively we have increased our fleet utilisation, which is now approaching 13 hours a day.We are pleased with this performance, as we have achieved this number despite being a full-service carrier and without the benefit of international night-flying.
The load factor for December was 85.1% and January (the aviation regulator's official report for January is yet to be released) and February are also turning out to be the same. Our economy class load during December was in the range of 94%, which is higher than anyone else's. I agree that we have a lower number of seats in the economy section of our Airbus A320s and it's easier to fill them, but we do not have the benefit of smaller 70-seat aircraft either, which are even easier to fill.Overall load of 85% means our premium classes are also getting filled. Both business and premium economy segments are filling up. A lot of questions were being asked about premium economy but that has become a key differentiator for us now and a lot of corporates have started asking for premium economy. Often Vistara flight tickets are cheaper than that of the low-cost carriers. Are you filling your planes by offering cheaper fares?
13/02/17 Economic Times