Vistara set to fly international by the middle of next year

Vistara is close to starting international operations, its Chief Executive Officer Phee Teik Yeoh said on Thursday.

Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, Vistara, said in theory the airline could start flying abroad when its 21 aircraft come in May next year. "But there is lead time involved. We need to get approvals and market the flight. We cannot open a flight in May and start flying in May. We should be able to start flying international towards the middle of 2018," Kapoor said.

Phee Teik and Kapoor were speaking at a press conference organised to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Vistara and Japan Airlines for commercial cooperation.

"We are going to announce our plans for international operations very soon but I cannot give a date as yet. March 20l8 is when we will be able to apply for permit to fly abroad," Phee Teik added.

The Government stipulates that an Indian airline must have a fleet of 20 aircraft before it is allowed to fly overseas. Vistara will be getting 20 aircraft a few months earlier than it had estimated, Phee Teik said.

Initially, the airline will look at operating to international cities which are up to four to four-and-half hours flying distance from India which means that it will start with flights to the Far and Middle East.

Phee Teik, said Japan was on Vistara's radar as it is an important market. "How soon, how many services a week, what aircraft type are all work in progress which we are very close to finalising. We are excited about the partnership as it strengthens the platform for us to launch our flights to Japan when we are ready," he said.

Meanwhile, Japan Airlines has no plans now to invest in Vistara, Tadashi Fujita, Japan Airlines, Executive Vice-President, said on Thursday. "The relationship has just started," Fujita said.

Courtesy: The Hindu Business Line
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