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Wed 16 Sep 2015 09:50 AM

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Indian start-up airline Vistara plans Gulf growth

Carrier opens first overseas office in Dubai with Sharaf Travels as affiliated sales agent

Indian start-up airline Vistara plans Gulf growth

Indian carrier Vistara Airlines has opened its first overseas office in Dubai to support planned expansion in the Gulf.

It had already announced at the end of August the appointment of UAE-based Sharaf Travels as its general sales agent for the GCC, to sell services and tickets for services within India.

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SIA) does not fly to the GCC or any other international route at present because it is a start-up and not permitted to under Indian corporate law until it is at least five years old.

However, CEO Phee Teik Yeoh told Gulf News on Monday that the government is considering amending the rule so that new companies can operate overseas sooner.

Teik Yeoh said the GCC – and specifically the UAE – was an important growth market for Vistara in future. “The UAE is one of India’s largest trade partners [bilateral trade between the two stands at $60 billion]. If trade improves, travel will grow,” he was quoted as saying.

“We would like to be able to tap into the growth expected to come from improvement in trade ties between the two countries.”

Tata Sons holding the majority stake of 51 percent in the company and SIA holds the remaining 49 percent. 

The airline has six aircraft (Airbus A320s), and plans to take delivery of three more by November, bringing the total to nine. By 2018, it aims to expand its fleet to 20 A320s, Gulf News reported.

Announcing the appointment of Sharaf Travels, Teik Yeoh, said: “We recognise that the Gulf countries are among the fastest growing in the world today, and are delighted to have established a presence here in less than eight months after we launched domestic services in India.

“As pioneers in the travel fraternity, Sharaf Travels will help us provide a personalised travel experience to our customers from the region.”

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