Vistara evaluates Air India, says Bhaskar Bhat

NEW DELHI: is evaluating Air India and will decide to bid for the Maharaja based on the outcome of this process. Bhaskar Bhat, president of JV Tata Group-Singapore Airlines, said Monday which company would not be interested in evaluating a sovereign airline in the country. The government's second attempt to sell AI in much sweeter terms is currently underway and expressions of interest (EoI) must be submitted before March 17.

“If we offer or don't arrive later. But evaluation for karenge, Bhat said while inducing Vistara's first wide-body aircraft, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, to the fleet at the Delhi airport on Monday. While AI has 27 Dreamliners (B787-8, apart from 18 B777), Vistara has ordered six B787-9 and will receive the second one later this month.

“Among the options for us (as destinations) are London, Paris, Moscow and Tokyo. A decision will be made shortly. The subsequent product has been designed with the steering wheel in mind. We will offer an authentic Indian experience on our flights, ”said Bhat.

Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said: “London is the jewel in the crown of Europe. Every airline wants to fly there. It remains to be seen if it is our first or second destination. The coronavirus outbreak is making this decision difficult. Tokyo is likely to be among the top destinations, but travel to and from Japan has been affected by this pandemic.

Among Indian carriers, only AI and Jet Airways (until last April, when it stopped flying) have had wide-body aircraft in their fleet. Vistara will deploy its Dreamliners, which have premium economic, commercial and commercial cabins, first on national routes later this month. Medium-range international operations will begin between April and June, said Leslie Thng.

Vistara has been trying to get slot machines in London Heathrow and in London Gatwick. “We are in the process of obtaining authorizations in multiple places. Depending on how it is, we will begin our international half-way flights on the Dreamliner, ”said Bhat.

AI has slots in key airports abroad (including Heathrow), being the only Indian airline that flies to North America, Europe, Australia and the Far East (South Korea and Japan). The government plans to notify qualified bidders on March 31. AI's second divestment attempt has seen how the government relaxes the terms by offering to sell its 100% stake in AI and AI Express, instead of 76% in the first attempt, and the 50% it owns in the joint venture of AI-SATS ground assistance. The terms of eligibility have also been relaxed for bidders and are expected to reach Rs 32,447 rupees of debt-liabilities, essentially the current value of 146 aircraft they will obtain.

Importantly, unlike the 2018 divestment attempt, there is no Jet Airways at this time (it closed last April), which makes AI the only Indian airline with medium and long range aircraft, crew for them , flight rights and slots at airports in North America, Europe, Australia, the Far East and Africa.