Tata Group's chairman emeritus Ratan Tata said it has been a long-cherished dream for the Tata group to establish a world-class full service airline in India and he would dedicate this day to late JRD Tata, the former chairman of the group and India's first licensed pilot. "Today, that dream has come to life," said Ratan Tata.
Vistara is a 51:49 joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines. Vistara marks the third attempt by Tata Group for re-entering the airline business. In 1995, the Tata Group had teamed up with Singapore Airlines to float an airline, but its proposal failed to take wings. In 2000, the duo's proposal to buy into Air India also fell through. In 1932, Tata Group started Tata Airlines, which was renamed Air India and later nationalised in 1953.
Vistara has two leased A320 aircraft as of now and plans to operate 87 flights in the first year, with five leased Airbus A-320s. It plans to have a fleet of 20 aircraft in its fourth year of operations.
Tata Group also holds a 30 per cent stake in the domestic arm of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia India.
Entering the Indian aviation space at a time when existing players are going through a turbulent phase, Vistara said its aim will be to "do it right" rather than being "lavish or over-the-top". "We must do it right instead of making a big splash and getting into disappointment," said Vistara chairman Prasad Menon.
"Being full service doesn't mean you're lavish or you're over the top. It means serving different customers' needs differently."
(With inputs from agencies)