*To Focus On Business Travellers; Premium Economy Class Offering
* Will Integrate With Singapore Airlines For Seamless International Connectivity
* Backed By Two Large Companies: Tata Group & Singapore Airlines.
After the launch of Malaysian airline AirAsia three months ago in India, it is now the turn of Vistara, the airline joint venture of the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines (SIA), to join the race.
So, how will the entry of Vistara alter the Indian aviation scene? BoomNews's show #IndiaHangout discussed the issue with Jitender Bhargava, former executive director, Air India, Paramprit Singh Bakshi, Senior Managar, CAPA and Devesh Agarwal of Bangalore Aviation.
The question debated was: Vistara - On Time or Too Late?
"If economy does well, airlines will do well. There is already crowding in the air. But business class load factor is only 50%. Tata-SIA is trying to target that class," Bhargava said.
Bakshi was of the opinion that Vistara will be focussing more on the international sector.
Agarwal was of the view that Vistara will go after the corporate customer. "Vistara is planning a premium economy class. So, don't be surprised if Tatas swing a deal for fast-track services for premium passengers."
Bhargava had a few questions: "Unless you generate adequate revenue, how will you control cost? At what price are they going to sell tickets to TCS, which accounts for a huge market? And what happens if the economy worsens?"
Bhargava also lamented the fact that there is no firm aviation policy in India. "Why do airlines get expat CEOs? There are no experienced personnel in the country."
Agarwal added that India, which was being discussed by everybody only two years ago, is totally out of the radar of global aviation industry today.
He, however, added that Vistara is a long time play by Tata-SIA to create an international airline. While Bakshi said there is tremendous opportunity in India, Bhargava was of the view that the airline will do well if the business model is right.
Bhargava concluded pithily: "If Vistara can be the Air India of the 50s and 60s, it has a bright future."