Vistara is an Indian airline based in Gurgaon with its hub at Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport. The carrier, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, commenced operations on 9 January 2015 with its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai and had carried a total of 500,000 passengers by August 2015. As of September 2015, the airline operates 251 weekly scheduled passenger services across 10 domestic destinations within India with a fleet of 7 Airbus A320-232 aircraft. Vistara was the first airline to introduce premium economy seats on domestic routes in India.
The airline was founded in 2013 as a joint venture (JV) between India’s conglomerate Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. The duo earlier made an unsuccessful bid in the mid 1990s to launch a full service carrier in India which was denied regulatory approval then by the Indian govt. With India opening up its airline sector for 49% foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2012, Tata and SIA once again decided to float a JV airline company in India. The JV, Tata SIA Airlines limited (TSAL), was envisioned as a premium full-service carrier to cater to the high-end business traveler’s demands in India’s civil aviation market dominated by low-cost carriers. India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved the JV in October 2013, allowing SIA to take a 49 percent stake in the airline. The two parent companies initially pledged to invest a combined $100 million as start-up capital, with Tata Sons owning 51 per cent and Singapore Airlines owning the remaining 49 per cent. This marked Tata’s second major foray into the aviation sector after Tata Airlines in the 1930s (Tata also holds a minority stake in AirAsia India). Tata Airlines later became Air India and was subsequently nationalized.
The company unveiled its brand identity Vistara on 11 August 2014. The name was taken from the Sanskrit word Vistaar, meaning “limitless expanse”. Vistara received its air operator’s certificate or the flying licence from the aviation regulator DGCA on 16 December 2014 and started operations on 9 January 2015. Vistara became the first carrier to operate domestic services out of the new Terminal 2 at Mumbai CSI Airport. The airline will initially operate from level 4 of the terminal, which is being used by international carriers. From July 2015, it will be shifted to level 3, which when complete will be dedicated to domestic carriers. On 24 August 2015, Vistara inaugurated ‘Aviation Security Training Institute’ an in-house institute for training its cockpit and cabin crew, security staff and others related to aviation industry. The institute has secured the necessary approvals from the nodal body Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.
From the very first month of operation, Vistara consistently achieved very high on-time performance (OTP) records of over 90%, highest among India’s domestic carriers. On 20 August 2015, Vistara declared it had carried half a million passengers in just over seven months in operation.