SIA’s new Indian airline gets permission to launch

Vistara, the new Indian joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, has received its Air Operator Permit (AOP), giving it the green light to launch commercial operations.

Vistara will operate a fleet of Airbus A320s
Vistara will operate a fleet of Airbus A320s

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approved the AOP this week, marking the final step in the airline’s drawn-out regulatory approval process.

Vistara will now be able to commence operations from its home base at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, using a fleet of brand new Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline said it will “soon make an announcement” about its launch date, routes and schedules.

“Receiving the AOP is a key milestone for Vistara,” said the airline’s chairman, Prasad Menon.

“It is a reflection of the dedication and determination of our entire team and we are all looking forward to the first flight with excitement. We are aware of the expectations we have to live up to and look forward to shaping a success story in Indian Aviation with the realisation of this dream,” he added.

The approval of the AOP marks the end of a long wait for Vistara, which initially planned to start flying in September 2014.

Under previous plans submitted to the DGCA, the airline will operate full-service flights from its Delhi hub to Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh, with 87 weekly frequencies in its first year of operations.

In the second year of operations, the airline intends to operate 168 weekly flights, with the addition of destinations such as Chennai, Lucknow, Pune, Varanasi, Jaipur, Guwahati and Kolkata.  And in the third year, the airline has proposed 252 weekly flights, rising to 301 in year four.

Vistara is 51% owned by Tata Sons, with SIA holding the remaining 49%. It becomes SIA’s third passenger subsidiary, following SilkAir and Scoot.

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