Vistara launches bookings for 9 January take-off; no cheap tickets

Vistara, the joint venture between Singapore Airlines and the Tata conglomerate, will begin operations from 9 January, the airline said.

Vistara will offer flights to Mumbai and Ahmedabad initially, Tata SIA Airlines said in a statement on Thursday.

The Delhi -based Vistara launched bookings late on Thursday, announcing that it will start with a fleet of new Airbus A320-200s with 148 seats. The first flights will be on the Delhi-Mumbai route and follow up with flights in the Delhi-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Ahmedabad sectors.

Vistara is clearly not getting into price wars. The fledgling airline has priced its tickets for the three initial routes (Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Ahmedabad), much higher than the competition. While fares are over 38-per cent higher on Delhi-Mumbai and about 20 per cent higher on Delhi-Ahmedabad route, fares for Mumbai-Ahmedabad is about three times higher than the competition.

Vistara has two flights on Delhi-Mumbai route on the first day and one return flight to Delhi. Its first flight will take off at 12.30 pm.

Its minimum economy fare on the route is Rs7,502. This morning, it was offering tickets at Rs9,323 for economy class while premium economy seats are priced Rs15,409.

The announcement comes in the middle of a particularly testing week for the domestic aviation industry, with Kingfisher long grounded and budget carrier SpiceJet heading the same route.

Visatara received a flying permit from by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on 15 December.

The Tata Group and Singapore Airlines had announced plans to launch Vistara on 19 September, adding a deep-pocketed player to a fast-growing but competitive domestic aviation sector where most operators lose money.