Vis­tara CEO Les­lie Thng sees sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for pre­mium econ­omy of­fer­ing on routes be­tween In­dia and the UAE

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Vis­tara CEO sees sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for pre­mium econ­omy of­fer­ing on routes be­tween In­dia and the UAE

Vis­tara, which launched its first di­rect flight to Dubai from Mum­bai on Au­gust 21, aims to take on the leading air­lines of the UAE by of­fer­ing a com­bi­na­tion of world class ser­vices and pre­mium econ­omy on its flights be­tween In­dia and UAE.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with AVB sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion Ara­bian Business, Les­lie Thng, CEO, Vis­tara, said: “There is a sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for an In­dian car­rier of­fer­ing a pre­mium ex­pe­ri­ence on flights be­tween In­dia and the UAE, and Vis­tara will be that car­rier for peo­ple. It is now also the only air­line to of­fer the choice of Pre­mium Econ­omy on flights be­tween In­dia and the UAE.

“We chal­lenged the sta­tus quo and changed mil­lions of peo­ples’ per­cep­tion of air travel to bring back joy and won­der­ment to fly­ing (in our In­dia op­er­a­tions). Our ap­proach is not much dif­fer­ent with in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions, and that in­cludes the Mid­dle East,” he said.

Air In­dia is cur­rently the lone full ser­vice car­rier from In­dia to the UAE and the larger Mid­dle East re­gion, af­ter the col­lapse of Jet Air­ways.

The Vis­tara CEO said the air­line would soon be ex­pand­ing its op­er­a­tions to the Mid­dle East re­gion but de­clined to share the de­tails of its pro­posed ex­pan­sion plans.

“Pas­sen­ger traf­fic be­tween In­dia and the Mid­dle East con­tin­ues to rise, and as a fast-grow­ing air­line with unique prod­uct and ser­vice, there’s room for Vis­tara to grow on the In­dia-UAE route just as well. Nat­u­rally, we wish to fur­ther strengthen our in­ter­na­tional net­work with more flights to/from points in the Mid­dle East,” Thng said.

He added the air­line’s ex­pan­sion plans in the UAE and Mid­dle East re­gion were de­pen­dent of mul­ti­ple fac­tors in­clud­ing bi­lat­eral agree­ments be­tween the two coun­tries, avail­abil­ity of air­craft and slots.

“Our fleet is also set to grow sig­nif­i­cantly over the next few months,” he said.

Af­ter In­dia’s civil avi­a­tion min­istry al­lot­ted ad­di­tional air­line seat ca­pac­i­ties from the quota of Jet Air­ways to other In­dian car­ri­ers, In­dian car­ri­ers such as Air In­dia, IndiGo and SpiceJet have been launching new flights be­tween sev­eral Gulf and In­dian cities in the re­cent weeks.

With its maiden flight to Dubai from Mum­bai on Wed­nes­day, Vis­tara – a joint ven­ture be­tween In­dian con­glom­er­ate Tata Group and Sin­ga­pore Air­lines – has joined the band­wagon to com­pete for a pie in the air traf­fic to Dubai, one the most sought af­ter des­ti­na­tions from In­dia.

Air traf­fic to the Mid­dle East re­gion ac­count for close to 50 per­cent of the to­tal in­ter­na­tional air traf­fic orig­i­nates from In­dia, ac­cord­ing to pas­sen­ger traf­fic data.

The Vis­tara CEO also hinted at the pos­si­bil­ity of en­ter­ing into code shar­ing agree­ments with more in­ter­na­tional air­lines in se­lect re­gions as it ex­pands its op­er­a­tions.

“As we ex­pand our net­work within and out­side of In­dia, we con­tinue to look for like-minded part­ners in re­gions across the world to pro­vide our cus­tomers an ex­tended world­wide net­work. We have code-share agree­ments with some of the leading air­lines of the world, and we will con­tinue to se­lec­tively im­ple­ment such part­ner­ships in re­gions aligned with our ex­pan­sion plans,” Thng said.

On the is­sue of fleet ex­pan­sion, Thng said that by the end of March 2020, Vis­tara will have over 40 air­craft.

Pre­mium Econ­omy class on a Vis­tara flight

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