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Vistara gets 3-month exemption from route dispersal guidelines
Tuesday March 3, 2015 10:28 PM, IANS

The government Tuesday said that it has exempted Tata's full service passenger carrier Vistara from operating flights to financially unviable regions under the route dispersal guidelines for 3 months.

According to Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, the exemption is only a deferment from compliance with the mandatory guidelines for a period of three months.

"The airline will have to make up for this shortfall in compliance within six months after the first quarter. No further extension of period would be considered," the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Currently, under the route dispersal guidelines, domestic airlines have to operate a fixed number of flights to financially unviable regions such as northeast India from their overall flight schedule.

Sharma further said that the new airline has not been able to cover even the north east region due to the limited number of aircraft in its fleet.

Interestingly, Vistara Tuesday announced its foray into the northeast region with the addition of Guwahati and Bagdogra to its domestic network.

According to the airline, it will commence services from April 2 on the Delhi-Guwahati-Bagdogra-Delhi route.

The airline had earlier announced the launch of new services to Goa and Hyderabad from Feb 20 and March 1, respectively.

The company, which initially started operations with 68 weekly flights in January, is expected to operate 164 flights a week by month-end.

The airline added that it will expand its fleet size to six aircraft by April and will soon announce the addition of more destinations.

The airline currently has five Airbus A-320 aircraft.

The JV airline between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines started commercial operations from Jan 9.

The minister further informed the Rajya Sabha that the airline has suggested certain modifications in the existing international operations norms known as 5/20 and route dispersal guidelines.

"The reasons offered by the airline for revision of international flying norms include enhanced connectivity for India and growth in international tourism," the minister said.

Currently, domestic airlines which have an operational experience of five years and a minimum fleet of 20 aircraft in their fleet are allowed to start international operations.

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