Vistara gets approval to fly abroad

The Tata Group-Singapore Airlines JV Vistara has got the government’s nod to fly abroad, making it the first private airline being allowed to do so under recently amended rules.

The Modi government had in 2016 changed the 5/20 rule — which required an airline to complete five years of operations and have 20 planes in its fleet — to fly abroad to 0/20. Since Vistara — which started flying on January 9, 2015 — has over 20 planes, the government set up a group of ministers to examine its request to fly abroad and has now cleared it to do so.

At present, Air India, AI Express, Jet, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir fly abroad, with GoAir starting these flights only last October.

So, Vistara will be the seventh Indian carrier to fly overseas. The other Tata JV airline AirAsia India completes five years this summer and will then fly abroad as it was not considered under the amended 0/20 due to a number of cases filed against the airline.

Vistara is likely to start international flights with service to Colombo. Bilaterals to other nearby places, where any Indian carrier wants to fly like Dubai, China, Qatar and Singapore are almost exhausted, and India did not hike them.

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