Vistara, the Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture carrier, on Tuesday announced plans to launch services from April to Guwahati and Bagdogra in the Northeast, targeting more high-density traffic airports in the country.
The announcement comes close on the heels of the private airline entering south-India with the launch of air services to Hyderabad from the national capital.
The latest full-service airline, after state-run Air India and private carrier Jet Airways, Vistara currently operates across five domestic airports - New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa and Hyderabad, which are all high-density traffic airports for one reason or the other.
Vistara will operate daily services from April 2 connecting Delhi with Guwahati and Bagdogra, the airline said in a release on Tuesday. After a brief stop-over at Guwahati, the flight will proceed to Bagdogra, a gateway airport to several tourist destinations in the Northeast, the airline said.
"The addition of this route reaffirms our commitment to promote regional connectivity. We are very happy to expand our operations to both Guhawati and Bagdogra," the release quoted Vistara chief executive, Phee Teik Yeoh, as saying.
The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture launched its services on January 9 2015 with flight services to Mumbai and Ahmedabad from its base in the national capital. The airline currently has five Airbus A320 planes in its fleet and plans to induct one more by April.
Vistara, which has 51 per cent holding of the Tata Group with the rest lying with Singapore Airlines, also plans to fly international. However, the current regulations allow only those domestic carriers to fly abroad which have completed five years of local operations and have a fleet of 20 aircraft.
The government, while proposing to do away with this rule, has sought to link overseas operations with a policy on mandatory operations on regional and remote routes. While Vistara along with new budget airline AirAsia India wants the government to do away with such norms, the established players are opposing any such move on the grounds that domestic connectivity would suffer if the norms were abolished.
If the rules are done away with, an airline, after becoming eligible for flying overseas markets, will deploy a larger part of its capacity on the international and trunk domestic routes, leaving the regional connectivity to suffer, Federation of Indian Airlines had recently said in its submission to the Civil Aviation Ministry.
These (proposed) guideline will have a devastating effect on the growth and development of emerging India, the state governments and the aviation industry, it had said.