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Tata-SIA airlines unveils its brand Vistara – an analysis – Bangalore Aviation
Management and crew of Vistara at the launch.

Tata-SIA airlines unveils its brand Vistara – an analysis

Vistara logo
Vistara logo

The Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd. (TSAL), the 51:49 joint venture between the Tatas and Singapore Airlines officially unveiled Vistara as its airline brand yesterday.

Drawn from the Sanskrit word Vistaar which means limitless expanse. The logo is derived from a ‘yantra’, a perfect mathematical form that reflects the unbounded universe. Its fluid interconnecting lines reflect the seamless experience the airline wants to offer its customers. The eight-pointed star at the centre of the logo is reflective of the airline’s proposed high standards.

Mr. Phee Teik Yeoh, Chief Executive Officer, TATA SIA Airlines
Phee Teik Yeoh

Without revealing any details of the airline’s proposed operations, the airline CEO Mr. Phee Teik Yeoh said,

“We aim to deliver a seamless experience via personalisation of services for guests who travel with us. Our core belief is that we will be intuitively thoughtful about our guests’ needs from the time they contact us to the time they leave the airport. Whether they are leisure or business travellers, we would like to make a significant difference at every stage of their air travel experience, and truly bring back the joy of flying”.

The airline is expecting to start operations in October, 2014 and will scale to five Airbus A320-232SL by December. SL = Sharklet. The aircraft will be powered by the International Aero Engines V2530-A5As which is the same as IndiGo, but different from GoAir, Air India and AirAsia India which use the CFM56 engines on their A320s, A319s, and A321s. (Note: The erst-while Indian Airlines A320s were powered by the IAE V2500 engines but are being phased out).

As per documents filed with India’s regulator, the DGCA, the airline will be based at New Delhi and in the first year will have all its flights commencing from New Delhi and returning to New Delhi at night. Surprisingly the airline has not filed any plans for the Mumbai Bangalore route which is the second busiest domestic route after New Delhi Mumbai, though it will fly New Delhi Mumbai and New Delhi Bangalore, the busiest and third busiest routes in India respectively.

Phee indicated the airline will attract premium passengers by offering a personalised service, something Singapore Airlines excels at, and will be dedicated to punctuality and hygiene. Two factors which have made IndiGo the largest domestic carrier. While Phee did not disclose any details, we at Bangalore Aviation understand the airline will feature a three class cabin similar to those found in US carriers, offering a business class, a premium economy class, and an economy class.

Tata-SIA Airlines Vistara Airbus A320 airplane livery. Image from Twitter.
Tata-SIA Airlines Vistara Airbus A320 airplane livery. Image from Twitter.

We expect the business class to be the classic four abreast 2-2 business class found in most domestic operations of competitors Jet Airways and Air India, and on SilkAir, the regional subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.

The economy class will be the standard six abreast 3-3 configuration with about 30 inch seat pitch. It is the premium economy class that has us intrigued. We suspect Vistara will target the mid-level managers who are prohibited by corporate policies to travel in business class, with a six abreast 3-3 seating but with an increased leg-room of 36 to 38 inch seat pitch and an upgraded ground handling and meal service.

The livery of the Vistara A320s is also clean. All white with the geometric “yantra” pattern in gold on the tail on the purple background. The airline likes to call the colour aubergine, the French word for the brinjal vegetable. Curiously, the first aircraft for Vistara will be in plain white. The airline needs its first aircraft MSN6223 soon for route proving and other DGCA formalities, and does not have time to get the aircraft re-painted from its existing all white (see a photograph here).

Vistara also unveiled the uniforms of crew and staff which have been designed by Abraham & Thakore. The cabin crew uniform is based on a kurti the short Indian shirt. The colour is purple and gold both of which are reflective of wealth and royalty.

Tata-SIA Airlines (Vistara) cabin crew ground crew and pilot uniforms
Tata-SIA Airlines (Vistara) crew uniforms.

With a lack of a clear and comprehensive policy, India has shot itself in the foot when it comes to civil aviation. Today the country is not even mentioned in major aviation events such as the Farnborough air show. With less than 450 aircraft to service its 1.2 billion populace, India has less than one-quarter of the aircraft of China which has a similar population levels and is home to the some of the most profitable airlines in the world. There is no doubt of the potential of the Indian market, but will the BJP government allow this potential to be unlocked? Sadly the current leadership at Rajiv Gandhi bhawan does not inspire confidence to this end.

Another question is, what is the USP (unique selling proposition) of Vistara? The Indian customer is loathe to pay a high price for anything, more-so for short-haul flights which explains the dominance of low fare carriers in the domestic market. The concept of personalised service reminds us of Kingfisher Airlines which offered an escorted service from the kerb to the aircraft. How will Vistara avoid the pitfalls that plagued Kingfisher? Without doubt, the Tatas and Singapore Airlines are superb corporations with best of breed people, practices and systems. TSAL has surely done a detailed analysis of the market and we can rely on it to offer, grow and sustain a world class airline. Will it be profitable is the question at hand?

Share your thoughts via a comment.

After sharing your thoughts please watch a video discussion on this topic I participated in on Boom Networks.

[bsu_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oARTqRgoDVw” width=”640″ height=”360″ controls=”alt” autohide=”yes” showinfo=”no” rel=”no” modestbranding=”yes” theme=”light”]

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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18 comments

  1. Any chance this airline will join Star Alliance anytime soon?

  2. The livery of Vistara air resembles the current livery of Fiji Airways. That is the first impression it gives on giving a glance at the livery. It is much more “inspired” rather than having originality in the ideas.

  3. For a technical passenger, they could only make difference in DEL-HYD,DEL-AMD,BOM-GOI, DEL-SXR,DEL-PAT routes of the year 1 plan. Routes like DEL-BOM and DEL-BLR have been flown with better aircrafts by AirIndia and Jet Airways. A330, B777 or B787 offers better seat comfort than A320 on any airline. Remember it is easy for Vistara to become profitable as Tata can just mandate all its subsidiary company staff to take Vistara or Air Asia India for the staff travels. They normally do that with the yearly bonus by giving the Westside or Croma (Tata Retail Chains) coupons to staff instead of money. Its a way of channelizing money within the group to balance all subsidiaries.

    • I would disagree with you on the DEL-BLR, Jet does not fly any wide body aircraft to BLR. AI sends only the morning 787 service and with the bone crunching economy setup in the 787, a A320 would definitely be a more comfortable flight at least in economy.

      • Jet flies B737-8 on DEL-BLR which is considered better than A320 by Boeing presentation and also Silkair Tech report. Not sure what you are saying on B787 being worse than A320 seating in economy. Do you have specifications of seat width and pinch for Vistara A320. Even if they go with Silkair style seating B787 in AI current config is comfy with specs unless you just hate AI or compare A320 business with B787 economy.

        • Both presentations you mentioned consider the B737 better than the A320 in terms of operating economies for the airlines. They do not consider either much better in terms of passenger comfort. Even though I prefer flying the 737, the A320 is a more comfortable aircraft with 18 inch seats compared to the 737’s 17 inch.

          The seat width for Vistara will be the airbus standard 18 inch seats, the AI 787’s are in a tight 9 across 17 inch configuration.

          I agree if you compare Business to Business, the AI 787 will be far superior to the A320 of Vistara. But most passengers will be flying economy.

          • Several airlines using A320 have not chosen standard seat width. Seat Pitch is important for better legroom. It depends on what you feel comfortable. I am slim and tall and I prefer longer seat pitch and shoulder height than seat width. So (33,18) on B787 is much more comfy for me than A320 best config (31,18). I am not sure how you decide on the best config of A320 as standard. Either you can accommodate fat (I do not want to use this term but there is no better way of saying) passengers or fat cabin crew but not both. The official doc says there are two standard configurations. It would be nice to see the aircraft final configuration than speculate. http://www.airbus.com/aircraftfamilies/passengeraircraft/a320family/a320/cabin-layout/

          • Well, I may not be slim but I am reasonably thin and tall. Which is a problem for me on the 787, with the 9 abreast layout on the 787, taller passengers (I have check with quite a few people) have the fuselage curve into their shoulders which provides less shoulder space which makes it a uncomfortable ride.
            https://www.bangaloreaviation.com/2013/05/as-787-dreamliners-return-passengers.html

            Besides that with respect to your original comment, another big problem with AI on the DEL – BLR route is the 787 is not a reliable service, it is often swapped last minute with a A320. So like I said before there is no real widebody service on the DEL – BLR route.

          • @xinghoney:disqus, I’m not really sure about the point you are trying make but you may have had different experiences on the 787 than we have. Could you please share your experience on the 787 vs the A320 or even the 737. Personally speaking I prefer either of the later over 787 in economy. Also when you say several airlines have taken the non standard configuration, I would like to point out two things: 1. Majority of the airlines use the standard configuration and it is a very safe bet to assume that Vistara will not use a inferior product to LCC’s like go air and indigo. 2. The wide aisle configuration is not meant for fat flight attendents like you mentioned but more for airlines that use the A320 family (Mainly A319’s) on longer international routes which require the airline to provide a better meal and drink service so the wider aisle makes it easier to use the wider food trollies as found on wide body aircraft.

          • I think my points were taken wrongly. I was saying a few things. We cannot call/write 18 inch as the only official standard configuration as Airbus itself mentions two configurations as standard. Full service carriers like Asiana uses 17inch config. Most of the A320 operators (even full service like Aeroflot) that I traveled in economy are allowing to keep the hand luggage under the seat there by limiting the stretchable foot space. So Seat pitch was a concern for me. I traveled in two B787s of Air India (DEL-SIN) and Qatar airways (DOHA-ARN) and I found Air India seat more comfortable than Qatar in spite of having 0.2 inches more seat width and 2 inches less seat pitch. I have no bias towards Air India and you can see that in my all previous comments. Coming to Vistara, we have to wait and see what config they would choose. Ultimately for them main passengers are Tata Conglomerate employees and all others are just for improving loads.

          • As per a report in the Business Standard it is 16/36/96 J/Y+/Y

          • Xing, I cannot find any airline operating A320s with 17 inch width seats. They all use the standard 18 inch seat width in the 6 abreast seating. Boeing 737 in 6 abreast is 17 inch. Even 777 10 abreast is 17 inch width.

            All new Airbus aircraft use the standard 18 inch seat width. Only LCCs like AirAsia X, JetStar, etc., use 9 abreast seating in the A330 which reduces seat width below 17 inches. Emirates tried to go to 11 abreast in Y on their A380 and gave up since the seat would become too narrow.

            All 9 abreast 787s , which are all but ANA and JAL, are 17.2~17.3 inch width. Now even the Japanese carriers are moving from 8 abreast to 9 abreast seating in their new deliveries.

            Qatar has 18.5 inch 9 abreast on their 777s but will move to 10 abreast on their 777X which will drop their seat width to the same 17.2~17.3 width.

  4. Siddarth Bhandary

    Looking forward to this new entrant taking to the skies, but personally I did not find the livery very interesting. The partial Yantra logo on the tail is hard to decipher.

+OK