Govt waives norms for Vistara even as new carrier complies

The government on Tuesday said it has exempted new airline Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, from operating flights in financially unviable regions, as required under the route dispersal guidelines for 3 months.

Minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma told the Rajya Sabha that the exemption is only a deferment of compliance with the mandatory guidelines for a period of three months.

"The airline will have to make up for this shortfall in compliance within six months after the first quarter. No further extension of period would be considered," the minister said in a written reply.

Under the route dispersal guidelines, domestic airlines have to operate a fixed number of flights to financially unviable regions such as northeast India from their overall flight schedule.

Sharma further said that the new airline has not been able to cover these regions due to the limited number of aircraft in its fleet.

Interestingly, his statement came on the same day that Vistara announced the launch of flights in north-eastern India – a further indication of the disconnect between the government and ground realities.