Vistara Bets On Upmarket Model In Frugal India


In the highly price-sensitive Indian aviation market, Vistara, a full-service carrier backed by local conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd, is betting it can convince passengers to buy higher fares in return for superior service. Though all airlines in India are feeling the pinch—with debt-laden Air India and Jet Airways (India) Ltd in such a parlous financial state they have been struggling to pay staff salaries on time—Vistara says its upmarket strategy is starting to bear some fruit.

The carrier has narrowed its losses and seen average fares rise this year as customers take to its product offering, including a domestic premium economy class, even though ticket prices at most rivals are falling, Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said in an interview at the carrier’s headquarters.

“We have seen a steady improvement in terms of demand, in terms of load factor as well as in terms of the fare passengers are willing to pay,” said Thng, a Singapore Airlines veteran who previously ran its Southeast Asian regional arm, Silkair. Read more

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