Singapore Air India Venture Said to Miss October StartAnurag Kotoky
Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s India venture is set to miss a target of starting operations in October because more regulatory approvals are needed, a government official with direct knowledge of the situation said.
Getting all certifications for Vistara, as the airline is called, would require a further two or three months, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Singapore Air owns 49 percent of the carrier with Indian conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd. owning the rest.
Vistara, which has a preliminary approval from the Indian government, needs to conduct the so-called proving flight before it gets the air-worthiness certificate and the final signoff from the government, the person said. Vistara is getting its first Airbus Group NV A320 aircraft this month, and plans to expand fleet size to 20 in five years, the company said Aug. 11.
“Vistara is working very closely with the regulators to ensure all requisite requirements and processes are being complied with,” Rashmi Soni, a spokeswoman for Vistara, said in an e-mailed response to questions. She declined to comment on the start date.
Nicholas Ionides, a spokesman for Singapore Air, directed queries to Vistara. Sanjay Singh, a vice president for public affairs at Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd., directed queries to Vistara spokeswoman. Uday Moray, a spokesman at India’s civil aviation ministry did not respond to two calls to his mobile phone.
Singapore Air and Mumbai-based Tata are starting the full-service carrier to tap travel demand among India’s more than 1.2 billion people. India eased foreign investment rules in 2012, enabling foreign carriers to invest in local airlines after almost two decades.