Vistara is all set to launch international operations anytime next year, after March. The Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines JV will have 20 planes in its fleet by March 2018, about three months ahead of earlier planned schedule to meet this cut-off for Indian airlines to fly abroad.
CEO Phee Teik Yeo said, “We are very close to finalising our plans for international operations. Vistara will fly to places like Japan as that is a very important market. We are very excited by the aircraft order (the airline will place) to support our aggressive overseas plan. At this stage, I cannot share the aircraft type and how many wide and narrow body we will need for our plan. Or how soon will we fly abroad. We will make all these announcements very shortly.” Currently, only full service Air India and Jet Airways have medium and long haul international operations. IndiGo and SpiceJet use their planes to fly to neighbouring places like Gulf and Southeast Asia.
Vistara has 16 aircraft, all Airbus A-320s, in its fleet. Indian rules now stipulate an airline here must have 20 planes to start overseas flights. Yeo said, “We will have 20 planes by next March and be eligible to fly abroad after that.” He said when the airline signed an MoU with Japan Airlines to “pursue commercial opportunities that combine the synergies of both with the aim of providing greater convenience to their joint customers travelling between India and Japan, and through Japan to points beyond.”