Vistara, the full service legacy carrier of Tata Sons and SIA, has announced the plans to begin flights to Guwahati and Bagdogra in North-East India. The airline currently operates flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. With the addition of these new destinations from Delhi, there will be greater connectivity with the region, which is well in tune with government ambitions as well.
The carrier is awaiting a nod from the government to do away with the 5/20 rule wherein the new carriers are allowed to operate the international flights only after they have operated on domestic sectors for 5 years and have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft. This rule is proving to be a major stumbling block in expanding to more profitable international destinations rather than expanding to low-profit sectors on the domestic routes. However, the other carriers, who have already suffered due to this rule in the past, are opposing the move arguing that there shall be level playing field among all carriers and rule shall not be changed. The government is also pondering over the cons of taking this step of removing the rule.
However, till the time government takes a final decision, Vistara is expanding into high density corridors. Bagdogra is the main gateway to many attractive tourist destinations in the region and considering that the number of travelers to that region is increasing by the day, Vistara has moved to cash in on the demand.