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Vistara Aims at Fleet Size of 20 Aircraft by 2018

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Vistara Aims at Fleet Size of 20 Aircraft by 2018

New Delhi: Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, on Sunday said its fleet size will be increased to 20 by 2018, from five at present.

Phee Teik Yeoh, chief executive of Vistara (Tata SIA) Airlines Ltd, also said that the aviation industry in India is facing challenges such as high fuel cost and a high tax regime.

"By April, we will have 6 aircraft and gradually increase to 9 by the end of this calendar year. Eventually, we will grow to 20 brand new A320 by 2018," Mr Yeoh told reporters in a press conference.

The airlines on Sunday launched its first flight from Hyderabad to New Delhi. Having started with its operations on January 9, with 68 frequencies weekly, Vistara now operates 164 flights in a week.

According to Mr Yeoh, all macroeconomic indicators are favourable to the growth of Indian aviation industry which is expected to grow at 9-10 per cent in FY16.

Replying to a query on challenges that the Indian Aviation Industry is facing, Mr Yeoh said government should work on addressing the issues such as high aviation turbine fuel coast which is 40-60 per cent more expensive than other countries.

He also said that government must remove the 5/20 rule - five years of flying experience, and a fleet size of 20 - for allowing domestic airlines to fly globally.

"High jet fuel cost makes the Indian carriers less competitive with the other global airlines. In terms of taxes regime, for the aviation industry the government should take action. 5/20 rule must be removed for the benefit of the nation and for the industry. It is not for Vistara. 6 other airlines are in queue to launch services in India," he added.

Justifying the launch of flights from Hyderabad, he said it is due to the low sales tax on ATF (aviation turbine fuel) which formed one of the key consideration to expand the network from the capital of Telangana.

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