Last year, I wrote about Tata’s upcoming joint venture airlines with Singapore Airlines, which is the second JV Tata made in 2013 to get back into Indian aviation. Along with Air Asia, they’ve already launched a low-fare carrier called Air Asia India last month, and now the focus is on getting this one off the ground in another couple of months.
While Air Asia India is a no-frills carrier, the new Tata/Singapore Airlines carrier will be a full-service carrier which will compete with Air India and Jet Airways on metro routes to start with. They’re in the process of getting their Air Operators Permit in India right now, and their first Airbus A320 (to bear registration VT-TTB) took to the skies for its first test flight a few days ago.
There are many a folks expecting this carrier to get the access pass to the Star Alliance right away, by virtue of being a protégé to a Star Alliance founder Member Singapore Airlines. Not happening in the first 18 months I say. But it would be interesting to see how they scale up in a market where already there is minimal difference between a No Frills and Full service carrier, since they operate from the same airports and offer the same facilities apart from the little extra that the full service carriers charge for, i.e., a meal.
The brand name for this airline is also not out yet, so the frequent flyer program also isn’t known of course. But I’m hoping they’d status match to get a head start in the domestic market when they come out with one!
I’ll keep an eye on this…