Is the future of India's aviation firmly on the low-cost side?
We believe that there is room for all players, full-service carriers (FSCs) as well as low-cost carriers (LCCs). It cannot be denied that majority of the Indian aviation market share is with LCCs. However, FSCs continue to be relevant for discerning travellers, more so in the current, post-pandemic scenario.
Vistara also fills somewhat of a void in the market as a modern, full-service carrier offering the best of Indian hospitality while maintaining world-class standards, at a very competitive price. With spacious cabins, lesser density of seats, enhanced comfort, gourmet food and a slew of other services, an increasing number of travellers continue to prefer full-service carriers.
With the increased preference among customers for non-stop direct connectivity, Vistara is very strongly positioned in the market, especially with our wide-body operations to Europe.
Or would you say that, there is still a demand for quality star-rated airline experience from the typical Indian passenger?
India is a highly price-sensitive market. While we are observing a growing preference for premium cabins, especially on metro routes, deploying the same product on certain (other) routes does not yield similar results. We are addressing it by deploying all-economy aircraft on certain domestic routes where the demand for premium cabins is negligible.
Rising air fares has been a concern. What is that sweet spot which an airline CEO strives for, that balance between expenses and offering an attractive fare to the end customer?
Taxation is very high in our country, especially on fuel, and maintenance costs are high, too. The volatility in fuel prices and currency valuation, coupled with high taxes, adversely impacts the already high cost of operations, thereby putting pressure on the airlines’ bottom line. We minimise the impact by trying to control expenses in areas that do not face customers.