In case you want to understand how the economy of a city or state is currently performing, you don’t need to look in to Economic Times or study the Financial Budgets proposed. You simply have to look at the airports. The no of airlines flying to that city from many destinations, both domestic and international says a lot about the importance of the same. The high frequency of such flights in a day or a week also shows how much passenger traffic is growing in that sector. If the city is a holiday destination, more flights (at lower prices) can immensely boost tourism & the economy. If it’s a city with a lot of industries or a cosmopolitan one ( Like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi etc), direct(nonstop) flights to the city will be good both for the airline and business relying on them.
Chennai is one of the key metro cities in Indiia and a major port to travel to other SouthEast Asian destinations including Singapore , Thailand, Malaysia , Sri Lanka etc. Few Weeks back, AirAsia India announced that they are flying 2X daily to Chennai , from Bangalore and Bhubaneswar (resumed again after 2 years)
AirVistara in Chennai
Shortly after their announcement, Tata owned AirVistara announced that they are flying from Chennai starting last week to New Delhi.
The upcoming routes also includes direct flights from Chennai to Kolkatta, Port Blair and Kochi, apart from Delhi. This may come as a great news for business travellers in the country, who currently had only 2 full service carriers (Jet Airways and Air India) that covered these routes.
The Premium Economy Class
AirVistara is the first airline in India that has introduced the “Premium” Economy concept in the domestic sector.This is normally available only in top international airlines in the world incluing Emirates, Qatar, Etihad etc. In AirVistara, it’s usually 50% more than a normal economy ticket. A low fare economy ticket from Chennai to Delhi is around 3300 while a premium economy ticket is around 5000.
So what does a premium economy ticket entitle you?
- Dedicated check in counters to avoid waiting in long queues
- Extra legroom space (20% more than the economy seats)
- More choices in the in-flight menu including gourmet meals (along with Starbucks coffee)
- Priority Baggage Handling
- Additional lounge access at 1000Rs
- 20KG baggage allowance (5KG additional than economy)
In short, you almost get a much premium experience compared to the usual economy seats and for those who could afford it, it’s definitely worth the premium experience and far cheaper than a business class seat, which is 4 times that of an economy seat.
Air Vistara’s Fleet
They currently operate with 17 Airbus A320 Neo custom designed aircrafts , flying to 22 destinations with over 700 flights a week. From what I heard they have ordered for 5 more aircrafts to increase the count to 22 by this year and thereby expand for more routes in the domestic sector.
Tata Sons & Singapore Airlines
AirVistara is also officially called as ” Tata SIA Airlines” Limited and is actually a joint venture between Tata Sons Ltd and Singapore Airlines, with Tata Sons owning 51% of the stake and started flying from Jan 2015. Their brand tagline is “Fly the New Feeling” and named Deepika Padukone as the brand ambassador for the same. Given the joint alliance, you can evidently see the similar colour patterns and designs in cabin crew uniforms that resembles Singapore Airlines.
Interestingly the same Tata Sons Ltd was raising their stakes to get a share of Air India . However as that failed due to several reasons. At the same time, foreign investment limits was lifted and they quickly formed a partnership agreement with Singapore Airlines to float a new airline called, Vistara ( meaning a limitless sky) in Sanskrit.