MUMBAI: February 09, 2016. Vistara CEO Phee Teik Yeoh says he’s hopeful India will not rule out the removal or amendment of the so-called ‘5/20’ rule – which allows only those airlines that have been in service for five years and have a fleet of 20 aircraft to operate internationally.
Yeoh said prime minister Narendra Modi’s government should take a decision that is beneficial for the country as a whole and open up the sector for start-ups wanting to fly overseas: “India should be connected to the world to ensure the ‘Make in India’ vision comes to fruition as quickly as possible,” he declared.
Vistara, the 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, after a year of operations now flies around 300 flights a week to 12 domestic points in India with nine A320s. Four more aircraft will be added this year and by the end of 2018 the airline expects to have a fleet of 20.
“I must applaud the government for consulting stakeholders, including airlines, on how to unlock the full potential of Indian aviation. It is gratifying that the views of Vistara are taken and well regarded because of our heritage from our strong parent companies who have the highest ethical standards, great experience and professionalism,” said Yeoh.
Noting India’s air transport industry has its challenges, Yeoh remains as bullish about the future as he was before Vistara was launched: “We will continue to approach our business with humility, being aware that there is always room to improve. The goodwill we received prior to our launch continues to grow with our ever-growing family of customers. It’s been quite a rewarding journey so far and we are on the right track,” he added.