Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vistara CEO: Scrap 5/20 rule to let Indian aviation soar

Tata-Singapore Airlines' joint venture, Vistara, that started operations in January this year is the third carrier to fly on foreign direct investment (FDI) following the relaxation of the key aviation rules in 2012. Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeoh in an interview with Nirbhay Kumar shares his growth plan and necessary policy action steps. Excerpts:

In a major relief, jet fuel prices have come down nearly 41 per cent compared with last September. This has made airfare affordable leading to high air traffic growth. Given this, would you accelerate your expansion plans?

While cost of fuel is important, it is just one of the elements influencing our operational plans. From the beginning, Vistara has followed a strategy of measured and sustainable growth which is a strategic combination of customers’ demand, commercial viability and mandatory obligations. Our keen focus on maintaining both service and operational excellence is working well for us and we stay undeterred on this path.

The reduction in the ATF pricing has been a great relief for the entire industry since it constitutes almost half of operational costs. Yet, we cannot predict the price stability or take it for granted. Airlines still continue to face high operating cost and debilitating taxes in India. Today, we are offering 245 weekly frequencies to a total of 10 destinations and we have recently opened bookings for Bhubaneswar and Varanasi. Vistara will offer daily double flights on the Delhi-Bhubaneswar-Delhi route starting October 1, and daily flights to Varanasi from October 21. In our next phase of expansion, we will expand our current fleet of six aircraft to nine by the end of this year.

Going ahead, where do you plan to deploy more capacity — trunk routes or tier-II cities?

Our capacity deployment is based on an interplay of market demand for full service, commercial viability and mandatory obligations. As a full service airline, our primary focus is to serve the corporate and leisure travel market. We are thus flying to destinations which have a clear demand for our services and this includes both metros and non-metros.
21/09/15 Nirbhay Kumar/mydigitalfc.com
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