NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s newest airline announced Monday it would start flying next month and was “enthusiastic” about the future, even as rival carriers bleed red ink.
The new airline, called Vistara – a Sanskrit word meaning “limitless expanse” – will make its first flight on January 9. The airline is 49-per-cent-owned by Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s top-rated carriers. Mumbai-based Tata conglomerate, one of India’s best-respected brands, controls 51 per cent.
“We’re enthusiastic. There are no doubt challenges, but we believe in the immense potential of the Indian aviation market,” Vistara chief executive Phee Teik Yeoh told reporters.
The 46-year-old former senior executive of Singapore Airlines, added he had felt like “breaking into song” ever since Vistara cleared the final hurdle to start flying, obtaining its Air Operators Permit from the government earlier this month in India’s highly regulated market.
While airline analysts say India’s aviation future belongs to low-cost carriers, Yeoh said there was also room for full-service airlines.
“We’re here to redefine the flying experience” and “create a demand for a kind of personalised travel” that doesn’t exist, he said, referring to the “massification” of the Indian travel market.