The Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines joint venture on Monday unveiled the brand name of its new airline 'Vistara', and said it is expected to launch operations by October with the first aircraft coming in by September.
"We are in the last lap of the process of securing the Air Operator Permit (AOP of flying licence). There are a series of approvals which we have to get to the satisfaction of DGCA," said Phee Teik Yeoh, the CEO of the start-up full-service airline 'Vistara'.
To questions, he said that "we expect to get the first aircraft some time in September and by this calendar year, we would have five aircraft in our fleet".
The Delhi-based airline has already decided to lease 20 Airbus A-320s, including seven A-320 Neo series planes which have the latest technology on board. The airline plans to have a 20-aircraft fleet in five years.
Yeoh was speaking at a ceremony to launch the new brand name, the logo and livery of the airline, along with Tata-SIA Airlines Chairman Prasad Menon and Board Directors Mukund Rajan and Swee Wah Mak.
Asked about the route network of the new airline, the CEO said "we are close to finalising our route network. It will cover cities having a clear demand for full-service airline", but declined to share details.
Earlier, sources had said the plan was to begin services in five cities and go up to 11 within a year of launch with 87 weekly flights. These would link Delhi with Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh.
Yeoh also parried several questions on the pricing strategy of the new carrier, saying the thrust now was to get the new airline "quickly off the ground".
On the full-service model, he said "full-service is not just serving food in-flight, but there will be a clear strategy based on customer experience and expectations." The company is a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons and SIA, with Singapore Airlines planning to invest USD 49 million and the Tatas providing the rest of the total USD 100 million investment.
Menon exuded confidence that Tata-SIA would become "a significant player" in the Indian aviation market by "redefining the way we travel in India. I can confidently say that Tata's and SIA's legendary hospitality standards and service excellence will make 'Vistara' a natural choice for passengers".