India's domestic carrier, Vistara, is considering developing a new brand for its plans to reach thin-density airports. The airline may use smaller aircraft to connect regional airports with those in metro cities, which is similar to the business model followed by airlines in the United States.
"In order to avoid the confusion, the product differentiation has to be done. For example, we may give regional aircraft the name, Vistara Express. So people may know the difference and what to expect of each of these brands," Sanjiv Kapoor, the Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer at Vistara, was quoted as saying by DNA. "So far, we are not in talks with anyone on this. At present it's just an idea," Kapoor added.
Vistara may either purchase or lease smaller aircraft, which have a 70-odd seating capacity, to implement the plan. The smaller aircraft would be used to connect passengers from regional destinations to metro cities and then, they could be flown to other destinations, including international airports.
In the U.S., some of the big airlines tie up with regional airlines for short duration routes, which connect smaller cities with the big cities. Vistara plans to follow the same format in India.
Vistara, which is owned by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has about 11 aircraft in its fleet. Following India's new civil aviation policy, which was unveiled last month, young airlines such as Vistara and Air Asia India will now be allowed to fly abroad once they have at least 20 aircraft in their fleet.
By June 2018, the Gurgaon-based carrier plans to increase the size of its fleet to the minimum required number, so that it can commence international operations. "We have 11 aircraft in our fleet today. We have two more slated to join the fleet in October this year... the first of our Neo aircraft which is the new engine option is slated to be delivered from June 2017 and we would have achieved a full 20 aircraft fleet size by June 2018," Phee Teik Yeoh, the CEO of Vistara, was quoted as saying by CNBC-TV18 last month.