Singapore Airlines challenges Emirates and Etihad's dominance in India
SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) has just picked a fight with Emirates in a grab for India's international travellers, and a slice of one the world's fastest-growing aviation markets, reports Bloomberg
09 August 2019 - 19:00
Singapore Air's unprofitable Indian venture Vistara completed its first overseas flight between New Delhi and Singapore, the start of a battle Emirates and Etihad that dominate India's offshore routes.
For SIA, rivalled by budget carriers, the prize is clear. The number of passengers in India will more than triple to 520 million by 2037, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates.
And of the 63 million people that flew to and from the country last year, two thirds were carried by foreign airlines.
Vistara, 49 per cent owned by Singapore Air and 51 per cent India's Tata Group, started out in January 2015. India doesn't allow foreign airlines to fly between local airports, unless they partner with a local company to start a domestic airline.
The carrier operates 30 Airbus SE and Boeing jets and has a local market share of five per cent, the smallest among six major players. It also plans to fly to Dubai and Bangkok. According to the CAPA Centre for Aviation, Vistara could break even in the year ending March 2020.
Vistara is a key element of Singapore Airlines' multi-hub strategy, and the launch of international operations offers additional opportunities to it, a spokesman for the Southeast Asian carrier said.
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