Expanding to leverage market growth
The Indian aviation market has immense growth potential and is expected to be one of the world’s largest within the next five years. Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons Limited and Singapore Airlines that started flying in January 2015, is positioned to play a prominent role in this expansion. Only eleven months after launch, Vistara carried its one millionth passenger. It is currently operating more than 500 weekly frequencies to 18 destinations within India and plans to launch international flights during the next two years.
Putting the right tools in place is essential for Vistara to leverage this growth opportunity. Efficient communication and network technology are both essential for smooth operations and successful expansion.
As a start-up, Vistara wanted to avoid unnecessary IT costs such as hardware, licensing and leased lines as well as service disruptions – including during upgrades and new releases. A set of seamlessly integrated, cloud-based solutions was a primary requirement from a technology standpoint. Vistara appointed SITA and SITAONAIR for the joint implementation of aircraft communications, airline operations and network connectivity. The successful deployment, completed within a short span of 16 weeks, efficiently supports Vistara’s ambitious expansion plans.
Efficient communication and network technology
With extensive, high-quality VHF coverage in India versus other providers, SITAONAIR was a clear choice for Vistara’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) needs. Vistara was keen to leverage solutions such as SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM® FlightMessenger and AIRCOM® FlightTracker. They had worked well for its investor, Singapore Airlines, and is SITAONAIR’s first AIRCOM® FlightPlanner solution customer in India. This solution provides computerized flight plans and data such as inflight weather updates and airport information. This combination of SITAONAIR solutions used by Vistara allow it to:
- Manage air-to-ground communications for the flight crew, airline operations and air traffic controllers and to track their aircraft
- Conduct cloud-hosted live messaging between flight crew and airline operational control
- Manage air-to-ground data communication in a cost- effective way across different applications and formats
Vistara also uses SITA’s global IP network to connect its back offices, ticketing desks and check-in counters at airports across India with its Germany-based passenger services system. The network handles both reservations and departure control services and is specifically tailored to be scalable to support Vistara’s future expansion.
The unique collaboration between SITA and Vistara includes a dedicated team of specialists who understand Vistara’s aircraft configurations and specific datalink service requirements. They made it possible to implement all critical services prior to the airline’s passenger operations launch. This resulted in route planning that reduced operational costs, improved on-time performance (OTP) and facilitated safer and smoother flights. This not only increases passenger loyalty, but helps improve flight safety and turn-around times, reduce fuel costs and exceed the latest mandated requirements.
Vistara’s consistently high OTP and excellent turn-around records are testament to having reliable and effective solutions. Reliable messaging and tracking services via SITAONAIR’s ground-based solutions enable minor issues to be addressed before they escalate. Vistara also appreciates having real SITA people in the same time zone when they have questions. They include a dedicated program specialist who helps manage, update and keep them trained on cloud-based messaging and tracking solutions. By responding to requests in real time and keeping them informed about possible issues, SITA helps Vistara ensure problem resolution in line with service level agreements (SLAs). This contributes to continuous improvement of Vistara’s IT services and helps minimize any disruptions to normal operational service.
A nose-to-tail approach
Vistara is employing a nose-to-tail approach featuring an integrated platform with datalink applications utilizing SITA's high-quality VHF network.
SITA’s Type B Messaging Service– the industry’s largest message distribution service for critical air transport industry operational messages
AIRCOM® FlightMessenger – a cloud-hosted solution that allows airlines to manage air-to-ground data communication in a cost-effective way across different applications and formats
AIRCOM® FlightTracker – ground-based software that guarantees regular flight position updates and requires no modification to aircraft
AIRCOM® FlightPlanner – enables aircraft operators to calculate the most efficient and cost-effective flight plan
Early success paving the way for future growth
SITA and SITAONAIR have a very good understanding of local authority requirements in India. By working with their local and regional account teams and specialists, Vistara has faced few obstacles during or since its launch. With plans to expand its fleet by 2018 and launch international destinations in the near future, Vistara is positioned well for expansion of its current systems. This will maximize the benefits of managing active flights.
The bottom line is that SITA, SITAONAIR and Vistara have built a solid foundation based on a solution that provides mission-critical information from aircraft to ground and vice versa. It also enables ground staff to continuously track aircraft through multiple media options. It allows Vistara to plan safe and cost-effective routes, quickly computing and filing flight plans to air traffic control.