Vistara to add new routes in 2019
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)