Vis­tara to add new routes in 2019

TravTalk - India - - AVIATION - Nisha Verma

While oil prices were a damp­ener for most of the avi­a­tion in­dus­try last year, San­jiv Kapoor, Chief Strat­egy and Com­mer­cial Of­fi­cer, Vis­tara (TATA - SIA Air­lines), be­lieves that 2019 will be a good year of growth for the air­line with new do­mes­tic routes, and per­haps even in­ter­na­tional ones if per­mis­sion from the govern­ment comes through.

Oil prices spelled mis­ery for the In­dian avi­a­tion in­dus­try in 2018 when they touched record-high lev­els for sev­eral months dur­ing the year. “In ru­pee terms, they were as high as they’ve ever been. The last time it reached that high was in 2013, and that was a very bad time for the in­dus­try. While there were chal­leng­ing times, the good news is that on the rev­enue and non-fuel cost fronts, we Now that oil prices have re­duced, the out­look is brighter for the in­dus­try,” said Kapoor.

This year, a cou­ple of new do­mes­tic des­ti­na­tions will make it to Vis­tara’s ros­ter. “We will be an­nounc­ing a few new do­mes­tic des­ti­na­tions soon, and we’ll be adding two to three more des­ti­na­tions through­out year, un­til March 2020, which would in­clude two Boe­ing 787s and a cou­ple of Air­bus A-321s,” he re­vealed.

While the ‘0/20’ rule to com­mence in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions have been met by Vis­tara, they - tional as the ap­proval from MoCA is pend­ing. “Apart from adding do­mes­tic routes, we will start in­ter­na­tional routes, once we get the nod from the govern­ment,” he claimed.

Vis­tara also re­cently launched a retro-themed VT-ATV air­craft to pay trib­ute to JRD Tata, the founder of TATA Air­lines. “With this launch we wanted to ap­peal to the emo­tions of peo­ple. We wanted to make an im­pact on the wider global au­di­ence and also lay claim to our her­itage. This launch co­in­cided with the 150th an­niver­sary of Tata and the tim­ing was just right. What we the crew puts on that spe­cial clas­sic retro uni­form and we do spe­cial things on board mak­ing it spe­cial for the pas­sen­gers,” Kapoor shared.

While Vis­tara is not part of MoCA’s UDAN scheme, Kapoor Tier II, III cities if the de­mand is there. “There is al­ways go­ing to be la­tent de­mand be­tween two points that are not served. The ques­tion is how much that de­mand is and if it is enough day, or is it a sit­u­a­tion where mul­ti­ple car­ri­ers, mul­ti­ple of anal­y­sis is con­stantly done. We be­lieve that many of these un­der­served city pairs do re­quire ser­vice, but we may not be the right air­line for it be­cause the fares and price that may not be suited to our busi­ness model. Hav­ing said that, if there is an un­served city pair that has de­mand for 150 pas­sen­gers a day and the air­line starts op­er­at­ing, they will do well. How­ever, the minute a sec­ond air­line starts op­er­at­ing on that route, it be­comes tougher. Thus, we need to keep all that in mind when we plan a net­work,” he added.

Shar­ing his view that the In­dian avi­a­tion in­dus­try is in the early stages of growth, Kapoor said, “Com­pared to our pop­u­la­tion and the size of our econ­omy, the in­dus­try is still small and the po­ten­tial is huge. Chal­lenge lies in the in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port that growth. Adding new air­ports un­der UDAN, a big­ger chal­lenge to solve is in the metro cities and at the large air­ports, as they are just hemmed in and there is we need more land for new air­ports. The so­lu­tion to this needs to come fast.”

We ex­pect to add 10-12 air­craft in the next fis­cal year, un­til March 2020, which would in­clude two Boe­ing 787s and a cou­ple of Air­bus A-321s

San­jiv Kapoor Vis­tara (TATA- SIA Air­lines)

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