1. DGCA rule changes leading to delay in launch, says Vistara

DGCA rule changes leading to delay in launch, says Vistara

Launch may be pushed to January

By: | Published: October 29, 2014 12:52 AM

Full-service carrier Vistara, a joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, said that changes in rules by the aviation regulator with regards to the final approval process for new airlines is leading to delays in starting its commercial operations. The airline is likely to start flying only from around January next year, four months behind the original plan for a launch in September 2014.
“There is an approval process that every new airline needs to go through and we are also following the same process. It is however taking a little longer time than we anticipated. As a team we are quite focused and concentrating all our energies towards operational readiness,” Vistara said in a response to an email query. “There have been some new developments with respect to Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) guidelines and we are working to swiftly comply with the same,” the company added.
Vistara, a full-service carrier which applied for the air operators’ permit (AOP) to the DGCA in April right after receiving a no-objection certificate from the civil aviation ministry the same month, already has two Airbus A320 aircraft parked at the New Delhi airport. The AOP is the final leg before any new airline can start commercial operations.
“The airline has several processes remaining, such as airport office audit, a base check and finally the proving flight. The operating manuals approval took longer than expected. There is a feeling that the competition is trying to block the entry of Vistara,” a source said.
Delays in the approval process for new airlines is fairly common in India. The last airline to start operations, price warrior AirAsia, saw it first flight delayed by eight months — from October 2013 to June 2014. Incidentally, the Tata Group has a 30% share in AirAsia India as well. Also, DGCA is currently working on a new plan to reduce the AOP process to just three months, as earlier reported by FE.
Vistara, in which the Tata Group plays a more active management role with a 51% stake, expanded its share capital to R300 crore from R50 crore at a board meeting in end-August. While the airline is keen to start international operations, its initial plans are to have a fleet of 20 aircraft and connect its Delhi hub to Mumbai, Goa, Patna, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Hyderabad and Bengaluru in the first year itself.

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