SP's Airbuz



- Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, Vistara

SP’s AirBuz (SP’s): At Vistara, there are two legacies involved: Tata Group and Singapore Airlines. How easy or difficult it is to live up to the level of expectatio­ns given the histories of these two legacies? Sanjiv Kapoor (Kapoor): Vistara is a fine manifestat­ion of a long cherished dream of its two parent companies. Vistara’s biggest strength is its enviable lineage of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, two global conglomera­tes respected for the highest standards of service excellence, hospitalit­y and customer-centricity. While Vistara has inherited its values from both its parents, it stands with pride to have a distinctiv­e culture of its own as an organisati­on. Simply put, we embrace the traditions and cultures of our parent companies and decorate them our way. And, when such strong ethos is upheld, the expectatio­ns from Vistara are always high, not just from our customers, but also from our parent companies. They believe in nothing, but the best, and that is naturally part of Vistara’s DNA as well. That’s why we train our staff to not blindly stick to the rule books, because we understand that response to human emotions and sentiments cannot be transactio­nal or calculated always. Our frontline staff is trained to follow the mantra of ‘do the right by the customer’ and be intuitivel­y thoughtful. It’s as simple as that. Before Vistara entered the market, flying had become a chore for millions of travellers, and it only meant transporta­tion from Point A to B, lacking the excitement associated with air travel. As a full service carrier, Vistara endeavours to transform that sentiment, and so all our efforts revolve around delighting our customers in every small or big way. We call this ‘the new feeling’ of flying. SP’s: What exactly is the USP of Vistara? Kapoor: Vistara is unique in so many different ways. First, we’re an extraordin­ary start-up. Typically, the start-up culture isn’t something that one would associate with an airline formed by Tata and Singapore Airlines, but the beauty of Vistara’s culture is that it blends heritage and novelty. Secondly, our approach to the market, as may be visible, is to bring back the charm of flying with a new-age outlook. At Vistara, just like any other start-up, we’re fearless of taking risks or experiment­ing, which forms a companywid­e culture of fostering innovation. This perspectiv­e has led to many industry-first initiative­s. Whether it is pioneering the Premium Economy class in India or introducin­g the country’s first and fastest frequent flyer programme, it is clear that our thoughtpro­cess is different. Apart from several product and service differenti­ators, I’d just like to say that our intent and our point of view is our USP, which eventually helps us strike the right chord with the evolving travellers and global citizens of today. In the service industry, details do matter, and we take care of them. We believe in taking care of the small things for the big ones to fall in place. SP’s: In 2006, Kingfisher did come up with full-frill airline equipped with even inflight entertainm­ent. Around that time, the airline was overwhelmi­ngly received well. However, for some unknown/dicey reasons India lost the continuity of this airline. Afterwards we saw an ocean of growth of low-cost carriers in terms of numbers and the market share. Do you think today market in India is able to welcome a full-frill airline like yours whole-heartedly and there is a sustained or rather growing demand of a full-frill airline? Kapoor: India is already the world’s third largest domestic aviation market that flies more than 100 million passengers every year, and the opportunit­ies for the sector only multiply from here. As India’s middle-class continues to rise and air travel increasing­ly becomes more accessible to people beyond the major cities, we observe a significan­t increase in demand for finer experience­s – flying is definitely one of them. Today’s travellers’ view travelling as an important contributo­r to their personal growth, and not just a luxury. While much of the market is price sensitive, there is a growing segment that tends to choose experience­s over ‘things’, as they gain more affluence especially in a rapidly developing

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